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.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea earned her BA in English before embarking on a career in technology and public service. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay award, Treefort’s 2017 Wild West Writing Prize, and was named runner-up in Cutbank 2018 Big Sky/Small Prose contest. Her creative nonfiction is featured in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Cagibi, and elsewhere; she is the author of the novel Pandora's Last Gift. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kim lives in Oregon, where she studies the moon and stars and wanders with her Labrador in the rain.

16 thoughts on “NaNo”

  1. LOVE hearing about this process. Thanks for sharing that. 👏💛(as she sits here at 2.00 a.m. not writing…. sigh. Got up at midnight completely inspired and then… instagram. Maybe I’ll try again at six. Always afraid to write the truth, is what it amounts to for me. But eventually, I let it fly free. :))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it was Carson Mccullagh, though can’t be sure on my phone and riding, who wrote–

      “There are only 2 or 3 human stories and they repeat themselves as relentlessly as though they never happened before.”

      Look for it Jeff, for me? May be novel My Antonia?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Found the quote, it’s Willa Cather in O Pioneers, how wrong over so many years, yet salvaged the gist:

        There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so impressed that you would attempt, and complete, this twice. To write that many words in such a short time completely boggles my mind. Wow! By the way, I loved reading the quotes in the McSweeney’s list. Made me smile, and yes, gain a bit of another perspective. Thanks for sharing the link. I wish you only the best on your writing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird? A good friend sent that to me last year as encouragement, it was the first time I really read anything at all like that about writing. That list on McSweeney’s is great, thanks for sharing it. This is my first NaNoWriMo, I’m trying to do a young adult story so I can share it with my oldest if it turns out any good but I have ideas coming out that maybe don’t work for it. I probably won’t make the goal, I’m impossibly slow and really enjoy wordsmithing before I get too ahead in anything. But I really feel like trying.

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