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?


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.