Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo and Starting Over

Today is about the middle NaNoWriMo--or National Novel Writing Month.

It's been a long few months for me of not writing. Over the summer, I got an agent (yay!), revised my manuscript (yay!), and went on submission (yay?). I also started three different books-- two contemporary romances and a darker YA "issues" romance. They didn't get past about 15,000 awful, horrible, no-good words.

I'm not sure that I'll ever get back to them, and that's strange, because I have this thing about finishing things that I start. The very first novel I tried to write (a terrible category romance that is best forgotten) was only finished because I was determined to finish a book. Half-way through, I knew it was rotten, trite, and downright stupid, but I finished it anyway, just to see if I could.

Over the summer and through the early fall I banged my head against these three beginnings. I pushed forward with the YA, even thought I knew the dialog was flat and the plot was verging on cliche. Nothing was working.

And then came NaNoWriMo.

Writing a book in a month isn't that new for me. I wrote that first terrible novel in about a month. I wrote most of the one that's (still) on submission right now in about a month. I have this thing where I kind of like writing in long, almost-manic spurts. I can stay in the book that way.

NaNoWriMo says that you should start something new, so I did. I shelved those terrible manuscripts that may never get farther than they are now and started on a new idea that popped into my head a few weeks ago, right when I was in the middle of orchestrating the Southern Magic Luncheon--not exactly the best time to start into a new project.

When November 1 hit, I started writing (luncheon or not). Sixteen days later I lave 43,000 words--the skeleton of a novel that I'm slowly, but surely falling in love with. By the end of the month, I'll have a very rough first draft that I can revise through December and Janurary and get to my agent by early spring at the latest.

I'm revising my ideas about finishing what I start. I may go back to those other manuscripts. I may not. Probably not, and I'm starting to feel okay about that. And I don't plan on waiting until next November to let myself give up on the next batch that doesn't work.

So that's how NaNoWriMo's going for me. How's it going for you?

5 comments:

Lexi said...

Congrats on getting an agent, Lisa, and on having a manuscript out on submission! Scary but wonderful! I couldn't write a book in a month at gunpoint. Just saying.

Cari Hislop said...

43,000 words in sixteen days? That is SO impressive! I think the fastest ever short story I ever wrote ended up about 43,000 and that took me about three months.

I'm not doing the Nano thingy, I'm just trying finish a book I've been working on for three years. If I can finish the several chapters left before the end of the month I will feel like I won a marathon!

May your words flow like a down hill stream (full of gold) after Spring showers!

Lisa Dunick said...

Thanks! But I never said they were 43000 good words :O) I'm just glad they're finally coming.

Chris Bailey said...

I'm glad you've gotten this far! Keep it up. You can make the words good this year.

My personal half-Nano? Not so stellar. I like my story, but when I start writing, I think--wait, this isn't working! And 1,000 words a day is about tops for me.

So I'm in awe.

Carla Swafford said...

When I write 500 words in one sitting, I think I'm really cooking. So 1,000 or more...WOW!

I'm looking forward to reading that book, Lisa. :-) Nudge, nudge.