November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo to those of us who prefer abbreviations. The concept is simple. You have one month to complete a novel-sized manuscript of 50,000 words, or roughly 200 pages, typed, double-spaced. Which, for me is actually a quarter of a novel. Now, I've heard about NaNoWriMo since college, but this is the first time I've had the guts to commit to it.
(For more information about National Novel Writing Month, go to www.nanowrimo.org)
After I signed up, I got an email from one of the website's hosts about an event called Crunch-tober, where you spend the month of October brainstorming 500 word posts in preparation for November. As I was scanning this email at 5:50 AM, I ended up missing the part where they provide you with writing prompts. At any rate, it didn't matter, because I already had something in mind.
I'm currently finishing up an epic fantasy novel tentatively called The Changlings, which I've been slaving away at since college. Part of the reason it's taken me nearly 10 years to finish is that I really had no idea what I was doing. Foolishly, I believed I could make it up as I went along. Also, when in doubt, edit! I ended up scrapping over half of it. And when you consider I wrote multiple drafts of 850 pages, that's like sending a thousand pages down the drain.
So, this time, I'm trying to be more efficient. And that means no editing until I know the ending. I'm not going to spend three weeks making sure that every detail in Chapter 3 is perfect, only to throw the whole thing away when I realize it's incompatible with Chapter 4. Haste may make waste, but it's nothing compared to perfectionism.
All this is a long way of saying that my goal for NaNoWriMo is to write down the ending to the necessary sequel of The Changelings, which I'm currently calling The Originals. I've been anticipating this event since early summer. On a whim, I decided to do my own version of Crunch-tober. For 5 days a week, four weeks straight I'd write 500 words about any point that bothered me on my second novel or any interesting tidbit I happened to pick up from the military channel. I figured if anything, I'd flush out the bad ideas. Plus, it was a good way of filling up between 6:15 AM to 7:30 AM, that nerve-wracking time of the morning when I was pretty sure--but not quite--that I wasn't getting called in for a substitute assignment.
So, now Crunch-tober is finished for me, and how did I do? Over 15,000 words and 50 pages of notes, including the conclusion to two battles and six character arcs. In other words, it added up. And I wasn't even really trying. But it goes to show what a concentrated effort of even 1 hour a day can do.
Now that I have some idea what I'm writing, it's time to sit down and write it. I'll try to keep you posted in November. See you then.