Tag Archive | 30 days

Post-NaNoWriMo Blues

2013-Winner-Facebook-ProfileNovember 30th, at 11:59 pm, marked the end of NaNoWriMo. For those unacquainted, this is National Novel Writing Month. It really should be International, because people from all over the globe participated. 309,173 novels were started in November.

I am unable to get statistics yet for this year, but so you can have an idea of the scope and challenge of this, here are the totals from 2012.  Last year 341,375 people signed up for NaNoWrimo and wrote a whalloping 3,288,976,325 words. That’s three trillion, folks! Now some criticize this event saying that if everyone is a winner than what’s the point? See you win if you pass 50,000 words written and validated on the sight and they have to be words written only in November. So how many actually make it? Last year 38,438 writers crossed the finish line. That is 11% of the total who signed up.

Some quit early on, some hang on to the bitter end, some, like me, soar past the goal and keep writing, because a novel is usually far more than 50,000 words.

If you are of that 11% (or whatever it is this year) – Congratulations.

If you fell short, you are a hero for trying and you hopefully have more words on your novel than when when you started the month. That is not an accomplishment to be despised. Most authors do not write 50,000 in a month. Ever. Just keep writing. Keep learning and try again next year.

But December is upon us and I have a few words of caution, especially for those that finished with 50K and even finished their story. This is a rough draft. It’s the first step in a long, drawn out process to publication. Granted, your story is equal parts genius and stupidity. Genius because you thought it up out of your own head. Stupidity because it is filled with problems that you can’t see right now. So here is my advice to you.

  • Celebrate your hard work! Congratulations!
  • If the novel is not finished, keep writing and finish it.
  • When it’s done, read through it and add or fix whatever you feel needs to be done
  • Set it aside for at least a month (or more) before working on your first revision. You are too close to your story right now to look at it objectively.
  • Let others read your work and consider their feedback and use it in your next revision.
  • Check for consistency in your story.
  • Check your grammar and sentence structure.
  • Run it through a critique group and make more changes and revisions.
  • Revise AGAIN if you need to. Use a site like http://www.prowritingaid.com to help you.
  • After all that is done, work on a synopsis and query letter (sometimes this is even harder than writing the novel itself!)
  • Then look for places to submit it to if you want to seek publication. Be prepared for agents and editors to force you to make even more changes to your work.
  • Most of all, take your time and enjoy the process.

Your NaNo novel is a diamond in the rough and needs more chipping away and polishing to make it sparkle and shine. I don’t write these things to discourage you but to give you a bigger picture, if you want to pursue publication, of the process you need to pursue. And these are only the icing on the cake. There is still so much more.

Congratulations, Wrimos! And if you scoff and think it isn’t such a big deal, well, I dare you to join us next November.


Do you NaNo?

2013-Participant-Facebook-ProfileIt is now into the fourth day of November. Are you one of the 120,000 or so people around the globe who have signed up to do NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month)? If not, congratulations on avoiding the insanity, especially if you already call yourself a writer.

If you have joined the insanity, however, just know that you are in the company of some of the most wonderfully non-institutionalized crazy people you will meet.

Like me! (no modesty here, I admit to being nuts). Let’s interview myself about this:

What compel a busy stay-at-home mom like me to enter the fray for five years in a row? 

The first year I felt called to do it and had never written a novel and figured it was free, didn’t cost anything and if I didn’t win, no biggie. So I wrote and found out I loved writing.

This is your fifth year? What do you write? 

Yup, five years. I started out writing an inspirational Regency romance as it is my favorite genre to read and there are not enough out there to feed my voracious appetite for fiction. Kind of along the thought of “Write what you would want to read.” Since that first novel had several supporting characters, I’ve been taking one a year. A thread of some evil started to weave it’s way through my stories so it became a five book series with the final culmination in this book. (I have written four rough drafts of other novels outside of NaNoWriMo as well).

Don’t you have a life? 

I still try to go to the Y and I’ve never been much for cleaning anyway and I’ll still meet friends for coffee. So yes, I do have a life. Some of my editing projects I got ahead on so I could focus more on this novel. I probably won’t be so sucked into the black hole of Facebook for as long a period as normal.

How does your family adapt?

They roll their eyes and then pretty much ignore me and the fact that I’m on a quest to not only write 50,000 words – but to actually FINISH the novel within this month (approximately 85K). Thankfully my kids like pizza and hubby is not around enough to care. They are unimpressed by my word count updates.

Any words of encouragement to others who are writing? DSC_0496

  1. Writing can be isolating. Engage on a Facebook page for your area (or create one!) and attend at least one write-in. Post on a forum. Use this as an opportunity to connect to someone new. You never know how God might use that relationship!
  2. Write, write and write some more. Put duct tape on the mouth of your inner editor. If you hit a stall (aka writer’s block) write through it, even if it’s lousy, you’ll up your word count and you might break through to that brilliant part of your story you would have missed. Revising is the time to clean those spots up.
  3. Back up in multiple places. Email your document to yourself. Dropbox is great. Do more than one copy of your document (in case one gets corrupted, um, yeah, it happened to me). Back up often even while you are writing. Don’t count on your auto back up to do the work for you.
  4. Write daily and try for more than 1,667 words if you can. You don’t know what challenges lie ahead in this month. Family, health and other crisis can crop up. If you hit it heavy and hard at the front end, you have a cushion and those interruptions don’t have to keep you from reaching your goal. And don’t let anyone fool you: week two is the hardest, no matter what your word count is going into it.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s easy to think this is going to be your most brilliant work (or the worst). The story I had the hardest time writing was year three – and it as the only one I didn’t finish by the end of Nano. I had hit about 62K but the story wasn’t done. I thought it would be a loss – and yet it’s my favorite to date!  Laugh. Take breaks. Work out. Be disciplined to write through, your novel won’t write itself.
  6. When it’s done -set it aside for a few months before you try to do revisions – you’ll need the space. But go ahead and learn the rest of the craft because writing the first draft is only one aspect. Who knows, maybe yours will be the book that finds it’s way to a bookshelf someday? You never know and we  can always dream big, right?

Those sound good. Thank you for taking time away from your writing to talk with us. 

Your welcome!