Saturday, April 16, 2011

N: National Novel Writing Month

I wonder if Claudie is going to use this same topic? I hope she does. From what I can tell, she's as much a fan of NaNoWriMo as I am. And as a ML, I bet she has all sorts of stories and tricks.

My story begins with National Novel Writing Month. It's a 30 day, 50,000 word endeavor. If you hit 50K words, you win. If you don't, better luck next year. No obligation, no money to play, and no golden ticket to publication.

This was my very first foray into writing my story. I discovered NaNo around May or June of 2009 and spent my summer in a plot-induced fog. Fragments soon became ideas that became major plot points and before I knew it, I had half of a college-ruled spiral bound notebook full of ideas.

National Novel Writing Month
My next step took me 40 miles outside of the city. I dropped my dog at my friend's house and headed north for 24 hours of a peace and quiet at a communal retreat. I had no idea what to expect, but for $40, all my meals were included (as was unlimited access to coffee/tea!) and I had a room in a log cabin all to myself.

No internet access, no phone calls, no television. Just my notebook, my pen collection (I couldn't decide on a color), a fresh stack of 3x5 lined notecards for my character deck, and all my books on writing.

During my time at the retreat, I made a fantastic outline, drank endless pots of tea, and walked around in my sweatpants and slippers like it was my house except for any responsibilities. It was bliss.

Ten days before my first NaNoWriMo, I went to Ireland but the story was still running on the hamster wheel in my head. I returned home late Sunday night and had Monday to catch up on laundry, sleep, and start writing.

I have since navigated my way through two NaNo's and am openly boasting when I tell you that I "won" them both. The 2010 NaNo process turned into a critique group that still meets twice a month and I'm currently submitting a workshop concept to the local writing center in hopes of introducing new writers to the Nano ropes.

While I have great ideas and great intentions of making the necessary revisions to my 09 and 10 novels, my 2011 NaNo is starting to interfere. Seeds of a plot are starting to bloom and I have a stack of papers on my desk that are filled with character description, setting ideas, and the workings of an outline.

Six and a half months and counting...


  1. That's awesome!!! Well done. I've yet to participate, if I can I will this year, really depends on the schedule outside of writing. I love the idea of a retreat beforehand too, really good plan.

  2. Ah-ha, nope, didn't use NaNoWriMo as my N day. It didn't even cross my mind, which makes me wonder if I'm sick. Probably just stressed. ;)

    I'm a hardcore NaNoWriMo fan. It solidified my dreams of writing a novel and publishing it, allowed me to meet great friends and it was on NaNo's forums that I first found a link to the Nathan B's blogs -- my first forray into the american publishing industry world.

    In short, I owe a lot to the OLL, and whenever November and April roll around, I do my best to give it back in more than a donation.

    The pre-NaNo retreat is a great idea! I might have to do that this year. Ideas are already buzzing around my skull for NaNo '11. ^^


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