National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know. I at least attempt it every year and have since 2008? I think. I don’t remember anymore how many years I’ve done it but it seems like a long time. My youngest was still pretty darn little but not tiny. I don’t “win” every year but I do more often than not and, even when I don’t, at least I was writing daily consistently.
It seems like every year, about this time (starting mid-September through October), my creativity, motivation, and drive crash while my doubts and all the angsty crap that goes with them flourish. Knowing it’s all related and all part of them same thing that happens every year doesn’t change it or stop it from sucking me in.
And every year about this time, I talk myself into Nanowrimo. 50,000 words in the span of 30 days. It is remarkably doable. And, having that goal in a place that sort of holds you accountable make it easier for me. I love deadlines. I work so much better – the writing is cleaner and crisper when I have a deadline. Nearly every year, I finish a rough draft of a novel, meeting the goal word count a few days before Thanksgiving.
My novel, Guardian of the Gods, started out as a Nano novel. It’s been through a lot of drafts and edits between then and now of course but that’s all part of the process. I have three other novels looking for homes and two of those were also Nano projects (though one has so little left of the original that I’m not sure it counts anymore and one took me well into December to finish). I don’t keep all my nano projects – there are a couple that I’ve scrapped entirely for the time being.
I am, of course, doing it again this year. I don’t plot, outline, or plan much going into Nanowrimo. I’ve got some backstory figured out and a list of characters and that’s pretty much it. I start November 1st with a blank document and see where it takes me. Sometimes the journey is a good one, others not so much, but it is always a good jump start for me after the general blah that sets in every year. Hopefully, this year’s project will be fun and I can manage to write my poor characters into some horrible corner just to see how they weasel out of it – I don’t always keep those interludes in the final product but there is no faster or cleaner way to figure out who the characters really are than to throw them into something nasty and see what happens. I almost feel bad for them.
I’ve got a stronger sense this year of what I want to do – at least tonally. This year is something post-apocalyptic (*sort of). When I wrote Guardian of the Gods, all I had to start with was one sentence: Jaffine monster hunter. Jaffine being Thosha’s (the main character) race. It turned out pretty good in the end and I hope this new one will too. For the time being, I’m calling it Demonborn (unless a better title occurs to me later). I know my main character a little bit and that’s enough for me. I can’t wait to get started but I have a lot of things to do between now and november so I have the time to commit (plus then I won’t want to just get writing already).