National Novel Writing Month – Why?

ImageAfter a beautiful week of near 80-degree temperatures, we dropped into the forties with rain all weekend. That kept us from doing yard work, but we managed to accomplish a few other tasks.

It was good to take the weekend away from the blogosphere. I watched a few movies, hubby and I dusted off the Nintendo 64 and played a few rounds of Dr. Mario, and I made some preparations for NaNo – as well as a pot of chili. Yum.

I wasn’t going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I didn’t really see the point. All four of my books are in the 50k to 57k range, and the first three were all written in a three week period of time (with editing after, of course). House guests and a few other projects cropped up in the middle of book number four, but the actual writing was about four weeks with one day producing 7100 words. I didn’t feel the need to challenge myself by participating.

I’ve been enjoying reading about what others are doing to prepare. Some have everything planned down to the number of hours to write in a day, food choices, number of words to write daily, housekeeping schedules, etc.  I’m highly competitive, and the thought of being a “winner” is enticing, but that wasn’t a strong enough motive to participate.

The reason I finally decided to sign up is that I’ve been dragging my feet about writing at all. I only want to write two more Susan Hunter books, and I just haven’t been able to get started on the next book other than the first two paragraphs. I’m thinking NaNo is the kick in the pants I need.

But there are other things happening behind the scenes. Writing came out of nowhere for me this year. After seeing other people sell short stories for a dollar on Smashwords, I just wanted to see if I could write a story, too. The fact that a book – let alone four – came out still astounds me. I’ve said it a million times, my books aren’t extraordinary with fantastic plots, but they are entertaining, which is all I ever hoped for.

If this next book goes well, and I enjoy writing it as much as I did the others, I’ll keep writing. (I’m kind of afraid it will all disappear as fast as it showed up. Or my shades of ADD will kick it to the curb for something else.)

I did manage quite a bit of research and preparation over the weekend for the official start on Thursday: ImageFrom right to left:

-My notebook with my original thoughts on scenes, characters, and how I want the story to unfold.

-More scribble notes with a scribble map of where I want events to take place.

– Printout of a Google street map in Chicago. I’m having Susan and Darby stay in a condo where I once stayed. The building and the surroundings are familiar to me and will make writing the story easier.

– Notes from a pulp fiction story that is in the public domain. It has the elements I want to use for a sub-plot in the condo.

– Another map outlining crime areas in Chicago. I can’t very well have Susan walking around in areas that are noted as high crime areas.

– Scribble notes with research needed for Susan personally, and I also jotted down some things that came to me for the opening scene at a gas station.

-Obligatory dish of m&m’s for research and writing.

– The typed pages atop my scanner are other details I previously worked out for the book, as well as all of my research into cooking contests.

I still need to do a bit more research based on the criminal element of the story, and then I’ll be ready to start writing. If I don’t make it to 50,000 words by the end of the November, that’s ok. If I do, I’ll be editing like crazy around the clock so I can publish right away. It would be awesome to have a book with a Christmas theme published in time for Christmas.

I wish everyone good luck and joy as they write during National Novel Writing Month.


65 thoughts on “National Novel Writing Month – Why?

    • Thank you, Valerie! I tried to stay away from your six this week, so I wouldn’t read any more of your book (or spoilers), but you scrolled through my reader, and I saw that Spinelli was shot! Oh no! Come on, November 5!! 🙂

  1. Hello Maddie I know that you are a good fiction writer that I wish you’d join us in the Toothsome Story Game 2 with your five words and then tagging one of your fiction writer friends to join along too… This is just to add something a little fun out from our regular blogging agenda everyday… hehehe..Check out the link here: . xoxo Hope to hear from you soon! 🙂

  2. Good luck to you. I don’t do NaNo. I probably should, but I know without a doubt I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Still too busy with the marketing phase of my book. I’m lucky if I can get an hour a day in on my WIP.

    By the way, how weird is it that we dusted off our old Nintendo recently, too? Super Mario’s World. Talk about a blast from the past–still my favorite video game. 🙂

    • Super Mario World was just about the best game ever! I still remember when we first got it for our son, and my husband hooked the sound up to a stereo. The entire experience was amazing. Just thinking about it makes me warm and fuzzy inside. 🙂 We like to play when the weather turns colder. Thanks for the NaNo well wishes.

  3. All the best, Maddie…. 50,000 words/1 month…. sort of doesn’t equate. I can hardly get my head around these figures. Maybe next year for me… Maybe by then those figures won’t seem so intimidating…!

    • Thank you, Carolyn. If I hadn’t written 50k in a month before, I wouldn’t have believed I could do it. But once I got started, I couldn’t wait to write every day so I could find out what happened next. Some days I couldn’t get the words down fast enough. Yes, give it a try next year, and see what happens.

      • Yes, Maddie, I understand that comment ” I couldn’t wait to write every day so I could find out what happened next.” Characters really do take on a life of their own! It is exciting to watch, and be a part of the process at the same time….! No doubt you’ll keep us up to date as you go (with whatever time you’ll have to spare.) 😉

    • I hope it will be a breeze. This one will probably tangle me up! Your Rings Into the River is intriguing to me – not just because of the title, but the Butterick pattern on the front sets a time and mood right off the bat. Let me know when it’s finished!

  4. I haven’t read the Hunter books yet. Are they available on Kobo?
    Just wondering, if you can write a novel, why not get 800 or so words together for the Weekly Writing Challenge? You’ll see then that you’ve still got plenty to say.

    • Hi Mary! I think I’ve done five of the Weekly Writing Challenges so far. I’m pretty sure that’s how you and I met – on my Stairway to Heaven (Nowhere) post. I like the challenges. 🙂 Yes, my books are on Kobo. Sunshine Hunter is the first in the series.

    • Thank you, Marcus. I really appreciate your comment. I think I was still a little wobbly in the second book, but by the time I got everybody to Vegas in the third, it really seemed to be clicking for me. That last book in New Orleans was even easier, and I hope better … so, I think you are right – I just need to keep writing. I should probably try to learn about writing, too. 😉

        • Marcus, I can’t believe you said that! Every time I think about reading books about writing, a little voice tells me to wait until I’m done with Susan Hunter. If I read too much now, it might affect my natural “style” that I’ve been using, and the last two books in the series would be too different from the first four. I’m taking your advice, and I’ll just keep running full-tilt into this as I have been.

  5. I wish I’d join in the NaNoWriMo, but my writing skills (and imagination) aren’t good enough to write a chapter of a short book…

    …but I’m not losing hope! Someday! 😀

  6. Ah, I remember jumping into NaNo for the first time… oh what a ride! But so very much worth it. Stock up on delicious foods, be prepared to tear things apart and enjoy what it all brings. There will be some stress, but motivation comes too — lots of it.

    • Not having a deadline and writing a novel in a month was one thing. Now that I’ll have a deadline, I can see my old friend procrastination showing up. It will be interesting, that’s for sure. Have fun, Daniel. And good luck!

  7. Jealous of:
    – you play N64 (I got no onto play with…sniff)
    – that you once wrote 7100 words in a day
    – that you have the energy for NaNo
    Can’t wait to download one of your books. You rock!

  8. I love all your preparations! It has made me acutely aware of the little preparation I did, haha, but I know research and things like that never work for me. The bowl of M n M’s is a very nice touch. 😉

    • When I used to write training manuals, m&m’s were a staple at work; I never kicked the habit. If I don’t do my upfront research now, I’ll spend too much time when I’m writing doing it. I tend to stop writing mid-scene to go look up a place, or find a dress, or research words. This is the first I’ve tried to do some of it ahead of the writing, and it will be interesting to see how much it helps.

  9. Maddie, I applaud you. I had no idea NaNo even existed until a few weeks ago. I think I’m going to try and jump in with you crazy people next year. Funny you should mention ADD, since I just used that as my crutch for not answering your last couple of emails in my reply to a comment you just left me. I hear that damn Twilight Zone music again! Good luck!!!

      • Woo hoo! That’s so awesome!! I don’t know the rules. So, you can not start the actual writing until the 1st, and do you have to finish by the 30th? Or is it a word count goal only. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for everyone.

        • No writing until the 1st, so I have to ignore the first two paragraphs – which is fine because they only give insight into something that will happen in the middle of the book (a teaser, so to speak). Writing ends at midnight on the 30th, and you hopefully achieved 50k words or more. You are a “winner” at 50k words. Sign up today, Julie. You can write a novel next month. 🙂 Your Halloween post of the 20th was 1,112 words. You only needed 555 more words to make the daily needed each day. I know you could do this. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just start writing a story. You could crank 10,000 words on the weekends. Tempted?

          • Don’t do that to me! You know I’m tempted. I have been thinking about that a lot. Between blogging, comments and emails, I easily write the 1600 or so words a day. But I just don’t know how to squeeze in 1600 more. The first week of every month, I actually do work at my job, when I do the accounts payable.If we weren’t trying to move, that would also make a big difference. I have the utmost respect for NaNoWriMo and it’s participants. That is why I have chosen not to participate until next year, as this year I couldn’t do much more than give it a lame, half assed attempt, and then I would be really disappointed in myself, and who needs that???

            This year, I’ll just be a cheerleader. The really old one. Yeah, in the corner, in the orthopedic shoes and the tube socks. That’s me.

  10. You know, your ADD might be your best friend. If you get into hyper focus mode when you’re writing, you should be able to tune everything out. I know my husband does when he’s playing video games. 😉

    • Antoinette, it does work like that! Sometimes I turn my music – top 40 no less – up really loud, and the words just keep coming. Hours pass, and I’m clueless about the time. Television is distracting; music seems to fuel the fire – but I don’t actually listen to it or remember the songs, so it must be the upbeat beats that drive me.

  11. I have just signed up for the NaNoWriMo project! Literally, hmm, 15 minutes ago. I planned to use it to Edit my manuscript was written almost five years ago. But I do love the idea of starting something fresh and with this sense of community. I think that’s pretty special. I envy your passion and your spirit. You are doing really well! I am going to treat myself to your books sometime very soon. Does Smashwords sell hardcopies or is it all electronic? And if it is electronic, can you download to Kindle or does it go to laptop? 🙂 Looking forward to reading these! 🙂

    • As if you don’t have enough to do! But I’m so glad you jumped in the pool (pun intended). 🙂 Starting something fresh will be so much fun – just have fun! My books are at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Sony, etc. They are only e-book, and at Smashwords you can choose the mobi file for kindle or the epub for on your pc. 🙂

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