NaNoWriMo Winner

Well, it’s official.  I finished NaNoWriMo with over 78,000 words.  Here’s the proof:

Now, those of you who know me have seen the title before.  I’ve only been working on this novel for forever.   I even had a couple of people tell me I cheated because the novel was already complete.  I disagree and here’s why.

I finished the novel last year and sent it off to a publisher who came back and said, “We like it but we’d like for you to consider making changes X, Y and Z.” I considered the ideas and thought, “You know what, I can make those changes.”  So I began. The thing is, the more I wrote what the publisher wanted as far as “Z”, the more I strayed away from the story I wanted to tell.  The very crux of the story, the core, the glue that held the trilogy together was rapidly disappearing.  As I wrote, my gut told me I was going in the wrong direction.  Eight months into the re-write, I tossed it aside.  It wasn’t my story.  I was writing for someone else.  Something had to change.

I revisited what the publisher said about X, and Y and they were right.  Spot on, actually, and I decided to keep those changes.  The changes worked well and did make the story better, but I had to re-write once more to put back in what I removed.  It was harder than I thought.  I actually had to put the novel aside for a while, write some short stories, and let the ideas percolate on Dragon King.  Occasionally I would revisit it but couldn’t get in the right frame of mind to finish it.  That is until November 1, 2012.

I had no plans to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but the time presented itself so I went for it.  I knew in my gut I had to finish Dragon King or at least make some significant headway in its completion.  The first week or so started off really slow in the rewrite/revision…only 4,000 words in 5 days.  Not too good.  I had to give myself a pep talk and put my mind to work.  Today, I completed 78,266 words – rewritten, revised – from two manuscripts that didn’t work on their own, but together?  Well, let’s just say I hope people will like it when I’m done.  I don’t have that much more to complete and I hope to get it back out to beta readers after the first of the year and the holidays are over.

So, in my opinion, I didn’t cheat.  I like to think of it as having two elaborate outlines that I merged together into what hopefully will be something worth reading.  During this time, I also have been diligently writing on two short stories and another one that turned into a novella I titled SUMMERFIRTH.    Hopefully that one will go to betas soon, too.

So what about you?  Did you participate and finish NaNo?  Do you have plans to finish?  I would love to hear your struggles and successes.

My NaNoWriMo tip: Write and don’t look back

Every November 1, writers from around the world join NaNoWriMo in a race to complete 50,000 words of their next novel in thirty days.  Some do it for the bragging rights and prizes.  Others do it for the challenge, while others participate simply because they like to write.  Whatever the motivation, writers at every skill level align themselves with others to prove that writing a novel in 30 days is not only daunting, but entirely possible.  What is one of the main keys to succeeding at NaNO?

Write and don’t look back.

For authors who crave perfection in seeing every scene carefully scripted, this idea may seem foreign.  You know the writers I’m talking about: the ones that have to edit every sentence as it’s written.  The one that has to fix every scene as it unfolds.  That’s the great thing about NaNoWriMo.  It isn’t about perfection. It’s about writing.  It’s about getting your ideas, plots and characters on paper or computer.  It’s about learning to let go and allowing your creative side to take control.  It’s about writing, not editing.

Will your novel be publishable at the end?  Probably not, but you’ll have a solid foundation to work from.  Many people begin plotting their novels in October to avoid major edits in the end.  Others fly by the seat of their pants and let the story unfold at their fingertips.  Whatever the method, the key to successfully finishing NaNoWriMo is to write.  Write, write, write.  Don’t revise.  Don’t try to keep up with others who are pumping out 5000 words a day. Embrace the writer in you.  Set your goal and stick with it.  Keep moving forward through the plot holes.  Can’t remember if your character has blue or green eyes?  Who cares?  You can fix it later.  Write your heart out and don’t look back, and enjoy the journey along the way.

What tips do you find that help you get through NaNo?  I’d love to hear your tips.

NaNoWriMo – Update #1

I am writing this from the field of battle.  Words are flying all around me, characters are battling one another.  Swords are clanging, magic spells are colliding.  My literary compass is pointing to “most excellent” in the land of NaNoWriMo.  I’m off to a decent start.

My favorite passage in my W.I.P. so far?

“How do you know they were stolen by the fae, hmm?  Have you witnessed a thieving?  Have you seen a maiden laid upon an altar?  Have you seen the great dragon devour a damsel with your own eyes?”

Title of my W.I.P. :  SUMMERFIRTH

Inspirational Quote of the day:  “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Goals for today:  reach 3500 words.

Distractions hindering my writing:  I had two sides of an ingrown toenail removed Wednesday.  It’s throbbing and hurts, especially when one of the 3 dogs steps on it, like what happened just now.  Can anyone say OUCH!

What’s on the agenda outside of NaNoWriMo?  Start making my homemade vanilla extract for the holidays.  Buy dog food.  Stockpile some words so I can go to Busch Gardens (if my toe cooperates).

Random thoughts:  My prayers go out to everyone who was in the path of Hurricane/Sub-Tropical/Nor’easter/monster storm Sandy.  Help in the form of blankets and clothes are on the way from Florida. I know many of our electrical crews from the Tampa Bay area are up there to help restore power.   My heart and soul grieves for all of you and prays for a quick recovery and brighter days.  God bless all of you.

Happy Friday, everyone, and have a spectacular weekend.


NaNoWriMo – Why on God’s Earth am I Doing This Again?

I must be crazy, off my rocker, completely bonkers to want to do this insanity again, but here I am, committing to 50,000 words in 30 days.

I realized in the wee hours of the morning I have to do this.  There are too many stories I’ve started and haven’t finished.  Too many dreams hanging around on my computer and I’ve been too darn lazy to finish any of them.  I need motivation. I need a quick kick in the keister.  I need to set a goal and stick with it.  No more dilly dallying about.

So, I’m restarting my 2nd novel in the Chronicles of Fallhollow series all over again as the first version really kind of sucked except for a few passages that I will reuse.  It’s also inspired me to finish the edits on book one and finish book 3. I HAVE to do this.  God help me.

What about you?  Are you participating in this year’s torture trial for writers?  If so, what’s your profile name?  I’m Slavandria (named after the sorceress in my Fallhollow trilogy).  Maybe we can connect and encourage each other to finish our blasted novels.

Related articles

(Parody) Still Alive NaNoWriMo

In approximately 12 days, writers everywhere will embrace NaNoWriMo.  The internet is alive with chatter like the following:

  • “Are you going to participate this year?”
  • “Do you have an idea in mind?”
  • “I’m going to lock myself in a cabin for a month so I can write a book.  What about you?”
  • “I like to outline my novel before I start NaNoWriMo.  What is your approach?”
  • “What foods do you eat during NaNoWriMo?”

I tried NaNo last year, but didn’t reach the required 50,000 words.  I’m not sure if I’ll do it this year.  Perhaps I should.  Maybe it would motivate me to complete my 2nd novel.  Hmm.  I still have 19 days to think about it.

In the meantime, I offer the following to all you NaNo writers out there.  May the force be with you and may the odds be ever in your favor.