Heh. I had way too much fun with the title of this post. Explanation to be provided shortly – first, I’d like to explain what, exactly, NaNoWriMo stands for.
November is National Novel Writing Month – or NaNoWriMo for short. It’s an event that encourages aspiring writers to pen (or type) 50,000 words in 30 days. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? But let’s break that down – to achieve this, you only have to write about 1,600 words a day. For me, that’s about two hours of nonstop-no-distractions writing. Not so bad, right? Plus, there’s a a website linked to the non-profit organization where potential Wrimos (a coined term for NaNoWriMo participants) can connect with others – either in their area or in anonymous cyberland – for mutual support and encouragement. Winning the event (writing the 50,000 words within the deadline) entitles the writer to special website badges, bragging rights, and even exclusive offers from NaNoWriMo sponsors.
Fun fact: My first novel, UnBlessed, started with NaNoWriMo.
I can honestly say there is nothing, I tell you – nothing – that compares to the feeling I had when I realized I hit 52,149 words on November 28th, 2013. I submitted my word count and instantly my screen was filled with confetti explosions, congratulations, fun digital winner banners and headers for social media, and even a special video from the members of NaNoWriMo.org (basically a bunch of people shouting ‘Congratulations, you did it!’ – which is pretty darn epic if you ask me). For the first time in my life, I realized I was on the way to achieving my biggest dream, a dream I’d had ever since middle school. Not only that, but I had accomplished something that most people never take the time to do – write a book. All it took was a promise, a bit of dedication, and thirty days.
Now, granted, you don’t end up with a finished, polished, ready-to-publish novel at the end of NaNoWriMo. One of the tricks to hitting that 50k mark is that you don’t waste time editing or agonizing of the perfect word choice: it took me an additional six months (three back then, and three recently when I revised and released my second edition) and an additional 20,000 words before the book was ready to be marked finished.
Of course, one taste of success wasn’t good enough. I wrote over half of Fire Blessed (my second novel) for NaNoWriMo 2014, ending with a total word count of 113,596 – almost doubling the final word count of the first book.
This year, I’m going to finish the first draft of my third novel for NaNoWriMo 2015.
Which brings me to my play on words: not only am I going to finish the end of book three, but since this novel is part three of four in a series, it’s literally going to be the ‘beginning of the end’ for my characters. There will be a lot of conflict and suspense and building tension for the final climax in book four … basically, it’s gonna be awesome.
And note: I said I’m going to get this first draft done. Not that I hope to, or intend to – it’s gonna happen, even if it kills me. Which it shouldn’t – I have a good feeling for where the story is going. And by first draft, I mean the book will be in a readable format for beta readers to provide necessary feedback to make whatever tweaks are needed before sending it to my editor.
Starting November 1st, I’ll be posting a short weekly blog update on how NaNoWriMo is progressing.
I’ll mention whether I’m on track to finish on time (I seriously hope I won’t be cramming at the end – but if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it) and I’ll share a favorite line or quote or two each week. In addition, I’m going to try and tweet my word count every three days or so – follow me @CrystinLGoodwin if you want to see my progress.
I’m going to stop making promises before I make more than I can keep.