Do you know anyone who did NaNoWriMo this year? If you haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month, which happens every November. Writers or aspiring writers are challenged to write 50,000 words of a novel (which is sort of the minimum length to be considered a full novel) over the course of the month of November. To do it officially, you must start the novel from the beginning no earlier than November 1st and reach 50,000 words on that novel before the end of the day on November 30th.
Every year, I try to do NaNoWriMo. And every year, something happens. Last year, I was suddenly inspired to write A Disguise of the Worst Sort. I wrote the entire thing between Sept. 29 and Oct. 29 and ended up in the midst of edits in November. But since I basically accidentally NaNo’d the story in October, I couldn’t really be too disappointed. Just amused.
This year, I had the best of intentions! I had a story all plotted out–a story for my new romantic fantasy series of fairytale adaptations. This one is The Princess and the Pea and involves a princess competition. I’ve been having fun writing it and got up to a little over 25,000 words, so halfway to the NaNo goal. But, you guys, I was really starting to find that I wasn’t ready to keep plowing through the story. I needed to take more time thinking about character background, goals and motivation, and that I was missing a lot of chances for hero/heroine interaction and humor. It needs me to slow down and figure more things out before I plow through.
I had still intended to keep at it, though, until I happened to be chatting with one of my daughters about the soulmarks concept and hit upon a fun new idea for a JAFF soulmark story that I don’t think has been done before. And then I had a block of time in which I had nothing to do, couldn’t use my phone to read on my Kindle app, but I did have a notebook. And I plotted the whole story out with a Save the Cat format. And suddenly I realized that *this* story, being JAFF, is something that I could write straight through.
So . . . I switched stories. I kept the goal of trying to make it to 50k by the end of the month, and, would you believe it, I actually hit 60k! I wrote about 25k on Tested and 35k on the new Soulmarks story. Which means that, yet again, I have not quite done an “official” NaNoWriMo, which requires 50k on the same story. But at least I did make it through to the 50k as a NaNo rebel and got my completion badge for the first time ever!
In the end, NaNoWriMo is a tool. It’s an encouragement to get the story down, and it’s meant to help, not hinder. If it’s only hurting one story, then I think it’s okay to drop it. I would probably not switch stories if I wasn’t confident that I *will* go back and finish Tested later (and have several other books under my belt to prove it to myself).
So, I hope that you all are as excited as I am to see how this new soulmarks story turns out! I’m writing the epilogue right now, so I’m almost finished the first draft, but it will still have several drafts to go before it’s ready to publish. But since it’s not too long, I may be able to put it out later this winter!
Hoping any of you who are writers had fun with your own NaNo, and remember–it’s a tool, not a prison. Use it in the best way that works for you! Even if it means, like me, you have a string of enthusiastically planned but never quite official NaNos in your wake.