50k words ….in one month? Sure….why not…

Yes it’s that time again. NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month).

Participant-2014-Square-ButtonWhile most non-Wrimos are thinking of voting and turkey in November, us Wrimos are more preoccupied with writing until our eyes fall out and our fingers get all blistered and gross. Which is not to say we’ll ignore voting or shun turkey (in my case Tofurkey), but Wrimos are feeling the call of the novel, a ravenous hunger sending us into the writing wilds like some fanged werewolf on the night of a bloated blue moon. To ready ourselves we’re blogging, stashing up on coffee, cancelling social commitments, kissing our kids (furry and non) goodbye for the month, and finalizing our novel outlining. There’s almost a tangible electric excitement going on. The heard is ready to bolt.

This will be my fifth or sixth (maybe even 7th) year participating in NaNo. I’ve never succeeded in completing the 50k word challenge, but just trying for a goal that big makes me write more than I would otherwise. Even if most of it gets tossed away, it’s a great way to practice discipline and sharpen skills. Plus I get extra motivation from getting to know other Wrimos and feeling part of a writing revolution. It’s like I start to believe in the reality of writing a novel versus the daydream of it.  Suddenly it’s all real. A novel, or at least a very rough draft IS possible and I WILL do it along with my “buddies.”

This year I’ve pledged to write a mystery novel. I have a heavily outlined historical one I had planned to work on but I am terrified of it. Each time I try I get stumped and move away from it so I’ve outlined a modern mystery set in a small waterfront town I used to live in. I know the structure. I know the four main plot points (which I always like to have these days) and I know the main character…some of other characters are opaque at this point. I trust that other characters I’ve not conceived of yet will materialize, along with sub plots and other things.

In order to get the draft done there’s three main rules:

1) Show up….Number one rule for a reason. You ain’t there, the words won’t be either. Get ass in seat everyday come hell or high water.

2) Don’t look back…keep pushing the plot forward and worry about revisions later….you might also see this rule to apply to the world outside the novel for a month…take the Scarlet O’Hara approach…say you’ll “worry about that tomorrow.”

3) Believe all the while that you can do it and that it will be great!

So to my Wrimos I say “CHARGE!”

To the non-Wrimos, please wish us luck.

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