For those unfamiliar with it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, also known as November, also known as a bunch of crazy people sign up to write 50,000 words in one month and then pull their hair out of their head trying to make their daily and weekly word counts, but if it all goes well, at the end of it, they have a novel. Or the beginning of a novel. Or something like that.
It’s a pretty lofty goal for just about anyone. 50,000 words in a month average out to a little over 1600 words per day. That may not sound like a lot, but look at it this way, this post? 560words. Yeah…1,600 words is a lot. Especially because writing a novel requires a story, characters, and it requires you to be able to keep that story going…writer’s block has a tendency to set in when you’re facing a deadline. At least it does for me. Add to that the fact that I work a 9-5 job, and have about 18 million other commitments coming up for the month of November and…well, yes, I’m absolutely insane for signing up for NaNoWriMo.
And yet, the challenge adds to it an element of urgency which forces me to focus and actually sit down and write daily. I’ve done it for at least two years now, completing the 50,000 word goal last year for the first time.
Truth be told, the novel I began last year has sat pretty much untouched since December 1st, but I have high aspirations of returning to it one day.
In the meantime, this year, I decided to bend the rules a WEEE little bit and pick up my eternal work in progress. The novel I began writing well over a decade ago and have yet to finish. Technically, this is a no-no for NaNo, as you are supposed to start from scratch. However, I believe the true spirit of NaNo is to get writers to WRITE, and the rest of the rules are more like “suggestions” for me.
Also, I really love the characters in that novel, and they have been begging me to finish their story for ages. I feel now is the time to do so. And, in all fairness to the rest of the NaNoWriMo participants, it is “almost” as if I’m writing a brand new novel, because, you see…besides the fact that I love my two main characters, and have previously rewritten the prologue to the novel…I’ve scrapped pretty much the entirety of the remainder of it. I decided that as much as I love the character, I hated the existing story. In the last decade of so, I have grown, I have changed, and so have they.
They have matured, they have formed new attitudes and created new lives for themselves, and the old story line just wasn’t working anymore. So I tossed it.
I can’t even tell you where this one is going, because I haven’t the slightest idea. I just know that my two characters, who I have loved and known for over a decade now, have a story to tell, and I am merely the medium. I’ll type the words, but they’ll be guiding them.
I can’t wait to see what they have to show me.
So off we go then...