Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My NaNoWriMo Story Part 1


This year was my first experience with the super cool and awesomely exciting National Novel Writing Month or as the cool kids call it, NaNoWriMo.  I heard about it towards the beginning of the year and planned on participating at that very moment.  Even better was the fact that I was finishing my first Average Joe novel (I thought, more on that later) and planned to use the month to jump start the planned sequel.  It all sounded so crazy.  How the heck could anyone write a whole book in only a month, a mere month.  It took me at least a year with both Hell Warriors: A Hero in The Flames and Average Joe and the Extraordinaires (AJE), that’s not even including the countless revisions and tiny tweaks I’ve done with both throughout the years.  So, more than anything else, I wanted to see how I’d stack up in the contest with the odds so high and my normal production speed so low.

I created a profile on the NaNo site ( months in advance and browsed through the site.  It’s a pretty neat and easy site.  There weren’t a million and one things cluttering up the front page which was great because I didn’t feel instantly intimidated or confused.  Browsing through the site gave me a sense of what to expect from the contest.  I’d check back on the site sporadically for updates like once a month or sometimes more frequently than that.  The main tip than I gleaned from veterans and from my own common sense was that the key to success was to write without abandon, to write as if you were held at gunpoint and the minute you stopped was when the seedy gangster pulled the trigger.

You’re only supposed to care about one thing and that’s your word count.
I finished Average Joe and the Extraordinaires, aka book 1 of the Average Joe series, about two months before the contest officially started on November 1st complete with what (at the time) were my final edits.  So I hooked up with an editor for that and started my idea factory for book 2 which I knew would be called Average Joe and the Beauty (AJB) from a simple idea that popped into my head.  I noted random ideas down in my Quicknotes and References file for the plot and went back to old notes to see what I could use to get a rough idea of what the sequel would contain.  On October 5th I started an official outline of AJB containing all the rough notes I had previously wrote and some new ones.  I got all the elements together and started working on a basic chapter by chapter outline of the book and where my plot was going.  I gave myself a headstart of about 8 plotted chapters for the next month.  This came from a bit of advice I read from the pre-NaNo emails you get from signing up.  Before NaNo even began I knew that my story would have 2 main POV’s from Joe and Liandra as well as a few villain POV’s because I liked those in AJE.  And I knew how I would begin and what ground I wanted to cover.  What I didn’t know (at the time) was how much my chapter outlines would change because of the choices I made while actually writing but more on that later.

I didn’t have internet and at the time thought you’d have to do all of your writing constantly online so I planned to use the library and my job’s free WiFi (free for me not them) to do all of my writing.  I do my best writing in notebooks so I figured I’d write into the late hours of the night in a notebook and wake up early and copy it all over into NaNo’s online writing software while at my job.  Luckily I did this for one day and saw that you only had to post your word count daily so I was greatly relieved that I didn’t have to kill myself for this but I was very proud of myself for being so prepared.

In my head I was ready for NaNo 2013.  Could I have been better prepared?  You bet!  Even at the time I knew that but I figured I had a strong start and I really did.  I was gung ho about it and felt my chances for “winning” were really good.  I knew the writing itself would be tough, it always fucking is, but I thought “this is good, even if I don’t win I’ll have a helluva start.”  That thinking prevailed throughout the month and was really what kept me from giving up throughout.  More NaNo adventures to come.  Part 2 will chronicle my actual start and the challenges that came from that.

No comments:

Post a Comment