Monday, October 31, 2011


Well, that time of year is upon us again - NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. For those who are unfamiliar with this, the goal is to write a 50,000 world novel during the month of November. You're supposed to write as much and as frequently as you can to get the words down on paper (err, computer). This is not supposed to be an exercise in editing, but rather just to get people to WRITE.

In theory I love the concept of NaNo. I've been composing story arcs in my head since I was a kid. As a child I won writing competitions at my elementary schools. I even had one story published in 4th grade for a district-wide writing contest (I wish I still had that damn book). In college I took several creative writing courses that taught me some measure of discipline but always seemed to be stifling me because the assignment was never what I wanted to write about.

So when I first heard about NaNo I was very excited to give it a shot. Unfortunately it also came during a particularly grueling period of my career and it turned out to be a complete and utter failure for me. I never even started. In 2007 I said I was going to participate. I got about 1500 words in. In 2008 I actually wrote something but I spent so much time editing and re-writing that I never got beyond the 10,000 word mark. In 2009 I picked up that same story and basically re-wrote it and added more character development and flow to the story arc. In 2010, I again re-wrote the beginning and added even more character information and dialogue. I wasn't able to hit the 50,000 word mark during November but I kept writing and I finally managed to get there shortly after the new year. I've continued writing on and off in 2011 and today, that story stands somewhere around 60,000 words. I think I can finish the story somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000.

So, I'm going to use the spirit of NaNo to get me there. I know where the story is going. I know who the major characters are. Now I need to fill in various chapters with additional information to make a more compelling narrative. I need to fine tune some of my characters so they are more integral to the story and eliminate others altogether. I need to decide if a device I used last year is going to remain a major part of the story telling and if so I need to replicate it successfully elsewhere or chop it entirely, which would mean killing about 10,000 of my 60,000 words. My main character has reached a major milestone, and now I need to learn where this takes her and those around her. November will hopefully reveal these things to me.

So, what's this story about you ask?
Olivia has spent her whole life thinking about death and obsessing over how her life will ultimately reach its end. When she meets a mysterious and charming man named William her understanding of life - and death - takes on new meaning as she grapples with the person she once was, the woman she was born to be, and the man who will be by her side throughout.
It's a paranormal romance and it takes place in Ireland, incorporating many of the places we saw during our trip in 2009. In fact, the hotel we stayed at in Dublin - the Shelbourne - was chosen because a pivotal scene takes place there. I felt that I really needed to see the place if I was going to have my heroine move her story forward.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, I'd love to hear what you're working on how it's going along the way. Peer encouragement is definitely something that helps make the process so much more enjoyable. I'm even thinking that this year I may break out of my anti-social tendencies and go to a write-in at a cafe near me. Gasp!


  1. Neat!  I love paranormal romance!  Hoping you'll share more as you move forward!

  2. Sara Guide6:36 AM

    Good luck, fellow NaNo participant. I don't have a lot of hope for finishing with my life being as busy as it is but I figured maybe it'd give me some motivation to move on my story idea.

  3. I'm hoping my regular insomnia gives me the hours I need during the day (or night, as it were) to make some progress. If I'm not sleeping anyway I may as well be productive.

  4. I was thinking about releasing it chapter by chapter but I don't know that there's enough demand out there for anyone to want to even read that much. We'll see.


Leave your thoughts ....