Thursday, November 3, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

It's that time of the year, when inspiration strikes and authors around the globe begin madly writing.  NaNoWriMo is an interesting and very challenging concept, begun in 1999, designed to help jump start someone into actually finishing a novel, often for the first time.  The goal is to complete 50,000 words in one month.  It's a lofty goal, but one that often works exactly as it's designed to do.  I'm seeing a ton of folks doing it this year, and that's a great thing.  Keep at it, boys and girls!

I'm not participating this year.  Obviously it's not because I don't believe it's a great idea.  It is.  It's just not what I need to be doing at the moment.  I have a stack of finished novels already.  I can crank out another one to add to the pile at any time, and actually have two of them I'm dying to finish.

But priorities being what they are, I'm putting them off for now because I have editing to do.  I'm still working with my editor on Separate Worlds, and will be working on another novella to follow in my foray into the self-publishing world.  As such, they're short term goals, and that is what needs to occupy my mind and my time this month.

And when I'm not working on those projects these days, I'm doing a final edit on the first three books of the Plexus.  That's a much larger project, and one I need to spend some concentrated effort and time on.  It's a whole lot of fun, but it's also a ton of work, something I really shouldn't cut away from to write another book.

I'm tempted to, though.  Boy am I tempted to!  My next two books are very exciting ones, and I'm dying to get into them.  One's a dark murder mystery involving a ghost in Spokane's famous 1909 Looff Carousel.  The other is a chilling tale of horror based on the story I related a couple of posts back, about that terrifying experience on Mount Ellis in Southwestern Montana.  Yes, I want very badly to jump aboard, even a week or two late and throw myself into one of them.

But I can't.  It would be counterproductive, which is the exact opposite of what NaNoWriMo is supposed to accomplish.  NaNoWriMo is supposed to get you off your butt and working on that novel, and working on one of those, while productive in the sense I'd finish up another novel, isn't what I need at the moment.  I need those finished novels edited.  I need to concentrate on getting them perfected and polished further, so they'll be ready for publication.

So, those of you participating this year, know that I'm extremely jealous, but at the same time, I'm perfectly happy editing instead of writing.  The Plexus is a fantastic story, and one I simply must get perfect.  In baseball terms, it's two outs, two strikes, bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in a tied game.  Sure, I can win the game with a single, but it's a grand slam waiting to happen, and it's up to me to deliver.

And that's why we edit.


  1. That's very much why I have yet to actually sign up officially for NaNoWriMo... it just always comes at the wrong time in my writing process. I've got two books to a edit right now, and while I am indeed working on #3, it's more important to perfect 1 & 2 and send out queries. I still go for the goal, though - I just try to assign "word count value" to my other tasks, based on time. (Standard word count ~ 1667 words a day; takes me about 2 hours. Equate with about 15-25 pages of editing, depending of depth of edit needed.)

  2. And that's really what NaNoWriMo is all about - getting yourself to actually finish a novel. As that's not my problem at all, I'd find it hard to justify participating this year.

  3. You're so right, Jonathan. I took three years to finish my first book, so I signed up for nano for the discipline to finish one, even a crappy one, in such a short amount of time. I'm enjoying the freedom of writing crap and silencing that annoying inner critic while developing the discipline to get out 1667 words everyday. Best of luck with your polishing - that is definitely the hardest part. Well, next to queries :)

  4. I learned the discipline of writing every day in a very different environment than most. Although I've been writing pretty much since the late 80's, a huge bulk of my writing was done recently, deployed to Afghanistan.

    When you don't have anything but movies on your laptop, and no internet connection without going outside to the MWR hooch and using public computers, you find yourself in the perfect environment to write.

    The research was a pain in the ass to accomplish, but the actual writing was completely awesome. While others were re-watching movies and television series in their off time, I was tapping out stories.

    I've done similar several times, but my own personal best NaNoWriMo came in July a couple of years ago. In 26 days, I'd finished a 71,000 word novel. And it's a pretty good one, too.

    Congrats everyone, and keep writing! The more you write, the more encouragement you give yourself.