Today the calender turns over to November and National Novel Writing Month, a challenge for intrepid novelists determined to write 50K words in 30 days. That works out to 1667 words per day, even on weekends, holidays, elections, and when the power goes out. To all those participating in Nanowrimo, I salute you.
I completed the challenge twice, finishing one (short) novel and getting 60k words written on the second. I signed up on October 30th for my first Nano, having only just learned about the nonprofit event that day, and secretly believed it was the quick-start kick-start I needed to launch my next brilliant career as a novelist.
Here is the summary of that first attempt:
“When vagabond musician, Lucas, is summoned to discharge his grandmother’s estate and sell her Victorian house, a battered old chest reveals an handwritten book among the antiques in the attic. The eighteenth century journal tells of an English ancestor, orphaned and shipped abroad to central Asia, as governess to the ambassador’s children. As he reads Verity Hightower’s struggles in a vastly foreign country, Lucas must confront his own desire to keep the house, pitted against his brother’s demands to sell it quickly. With each chapter of Verity’s story, Lucas embraces the lessons of necessity, family and the true meaning of “home.”
Ugh. Hybrid bodice-ripper-romance dual narrative.
Here is the summary of my second Nano novel:
“When a sheep rancher and her dog are savagely killed, suspicion falls on the neighbor’s rescue dogs. To protect her dogs from being blamed for the carnage and destroyed, seventeen year-old Sammi flees with them across the mountains to the high desert. As Sammi desperately tries to elude the state police and forensic biologist pursuing her, she crosses paths with the otherworldly beast spreading carnage, and his master. Sammi must fight for her own life, as well as the lives of her dogs, against dark immortal forces.
Better? Horror-fantasy I swear I will finish some day.
I learned a lot about myself and a lot about story. But this year, I’m struggling to keep the writing hours, rather than the word count.
If you are Nanoing, and tired of trying to form a sentence, I recommend a quick read for some perspective over at McSweeney’s. List: If Other Professionals talked about Their Jobs the Way Writers Do.
Word by word.