Wordslinger: 30 Days of Write…
As I write this, I am 28 days and 41,000 words into my NaNoWriMo book. National Novel Writing Month takes place during the month of November, and last I checked in, well over 30,000 people were signed in on the NaNoWriMo website.
The goal during NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, and I had a rather unexpected turn to my project. I’d always assumed that I would write the first 50,000 words of what would eventually be a much longer book, but as I near the 45,000 mark I’ve come to realize that I will complete my story before the word count is met.
This is not a bother because I’m sure that my second pass (my squeegee read through) will inspire another five thousand plus words of extra material.
I have slowed down to get the ending right. It’s important not to feel rushed, so I purposely took a few days off last week once I realized that I was going to get what I wanted out of this endeavor.
It’s weird to think that the last time I submitted a Wordslinger I hadn’t even picked half of my character names, and now this idea is a fully realized novel with just an edit to go until completion.
I ended up very happy with the way the story turned out, which is to say that it turned out like I expected, and I didn’t have any characters wander too far off script.
It’s a ghost story (my first). It takes place mostly in New York City, which is a bonus for me since I have a real boner for the Big Apple. I had the joy of delving into subway history and learned the island of Manhattan from fifty feet underground. It was a lot of fun and as I edit I’ll use the time to research further.
The last three books I wrote took a year each, and I’ve got to say that doing it this way sure has it’s advantages. Yes, I spent three hours a day with my nose buried in my computer, Yes, I ignored my Twitter friends and barely even looked at Facebook even though my wife and I launched a writers blog a few weeks ago, but I got ten times as much written in the four weeks and now I can take Christmas to polish and lengthen it a bit.
I have two friends who joined me in writing novels this month, and I’m happy to report that they both have accomplished their goals. It’s no easy task but having the support of colleagues goes a long way towards realizing your own successes.
I started with an outline, a five page version of my whole story. Then I started by developing my main character. I told rich stories about her past that I liked almost as much as my main plot.
It isn’t necessarily an action packed book, but time moves swiftly and the characters’ needs become of paramount importance. I tried to keep the emotion engaging, but not too overdone, and I got to make up my own rules about how ghosts behave in the world I created.
That was my favorite part of writing the story, and I plan on expounding on the laws I set forth to add even more depth to the new environment that takes place in an old setting.
New York became its own character as I’d hoped, and that was part of the reason for picking such a storied city. It’s cheap, I know, but I don’t mind cheap if it’s good. That just makes it a better deal.
This makes four books I’ve written in four years, but now that I know I can knock one out in a month I may try this again in March or April if I have the time. It was empowering and everyone I know is still trying to wrap their head around the idea that I even tried to attempt something so daunting.
And it does seem daunting on paper, but in practice, it’s only a daily discipline that develops into a divine document. As long as you don’t mind missing a few of your favorite TV shows, or going to bed a little late on some nights, you can have yourself a novel in no time at all.
My wife, whom I call Darth Beta will join another valued partner in evaluating and exfoliating the story and I look forward to that next step in the process.
I’m much further along in another project and juggling the two may become a totally new challenge that I’ll be lucky enough to face.
I hope you all have a toasty holiday season and your Nooks and Kindles are filled with good books.