NaNo Success: The Pros and Cons, Part 1

NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) is a tradition I started doing in 2007 at the prompting of my other writing friends. It’s an event were a billion six people ignore their lives, family, and hygiene (okay, maybe not that last one) to whip out a 50k plus novel in the month of November. The point, in my opinion, is to get that first rough draft completed and then work on the edits in December. Or in my case, after the New Year. Apparently I have to remember I have a family when the clock chimes midnight on November 30th. Go figure. 😉

In 2007, I failed miserably. Not only did I allow the allure of the first Assassin’s Creed video game to suck me into oblivion, I had my ‘trusty’ Toshiba laptop crap out. The motherboard vomited all over me and even if I had the latest copy on a thumb drive, I would still be screwed. None of the other computers I had in the house had multiple USB ports. In fact, my desktop needed an adapter for the USB keyboard it was so old. I still have that computer…and haven’t turned it on since 2007.

I can blame the addicting power of video games or the implosion of the laptop all I want. The fact is the one thing that really failed completing NaNo was me. I was only 28k into the story with a week left. Even burning the midnight oil I don’t think I would have made it across the finish line. I had failed in fulfilling my commitment.

Flash forward to the next year. Fresh with a new laptop, I pounded the keys and won. Then I did it again in 2009 with having another release of Assassin’s Creed in the same month! Rinse and repeat. From 2008 to 2010, I did novel ideas. I loved them, I hated them after spending a month sequestered away with my wishy-washy muse who wanted to do anything but work on one project. Though I had reached the 50k mark, all NaNo left me with was three unfinished novels. Well, four if you count the Year of Fail. I had to change that pattern.

With 2011’s NaNo around the corner I changed tactics. The goal is to write 50k words, not finish a novel. Let’s face it, anyone who believes what they’ve typed ‘The End’ to on day 30 is ready for the publishing world needs to be smacked upside the head. Not even successful novelists have this lofty idea.

So I mapped out what I wanted to do for NaNo, laying out not one novel but several short stories, and set to work. By doing this, my use was sated. His bouncing off the walls and ADD ways were tamed. I flew through the stories, doing something I never bothered with before—editing as I go. My hope was to have these ready go into the shark tank. One especially—Mended Hearts—had to get out by the end of the month.

At the end of November, I had completed the rough draft of four pieces and had two others started. One piece I held back from the shark tank because I had that in mind for a special publication. Two pieces went off to Still Moments Publishing—Mended Hearts and The Beauty Within. I had hopes both would be accepted into a few of their anthologies. The Beauty Within got accepted for their Spellbound Hearts anthology. The edits and final proofing have been completed and the anticipated release date is March 2012. SCORE! NaNo wasn’t a big trail of unfinished stories sitting on my hard drive. Next came the sad news that Mended Hearts wasn’t right for the Valentine’s anthology…. Or was it sad news? Still Moments liked the story so much, they offered me a stand alone publication contract.

continued on August 15, 2012

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3 responses

    • While I haven’t decided what I’m going to work on, I’m thinking two novellas is the way to go. I have two unfinished ones from NaNo last year that I’ve toyed with but done nothing in the way of completing.

      After writing Talbot’s Ploy, I had the idea for about 4 more featuring Talbot and his mischief along the way. I also had an idea for a sequel of The WOlves of Argonne featuring some of the children Rosabel has with her mates. So we’ll see.

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