If you’ve been in the writer’s world for even a little bit of time, you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo or rather National Novel Writing Month aka November. It’s basically a club or a group of people who commit to writing a novel every November. I have a friend who has done it eight years in a row. She’s the one who originally told me about this. They clarify the novel at 50,000 words.
Most full length novels are anywhere between 75,000-100,000 words. I never knew before joining the ACFW that novels were based on word count and not on pages or chapters. Interesting, huh? Not something that you normally think about while reading a book. At least it better not be or that author needs some serious help!
As some of you may know, I’m in the middle of writing my first novel. I’m a little over 30,000 words into it and starting to question the structure and plot. Again. Writing a book has taught me some things about myself that I probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I’m a middle of the road thinker, meaning that I’m neither right or left brained, but I use both sides equally. Sounds like a really good thing, right? I can be organized and creative!
The problem is that my creative side gets going and the words just flow onto the page, coming quickly and easily. Then my organized side comes in and says, “But where’s the plot? You don’t have an outline, so how can you know if the story is going to work out in the end? You might get to the end and not be able to finish because of something you missed. Go back and restructure.” It’s like being multiple people at once. Maybe I should name my left and right sides and watch them battle for dominance. Ha!
This is my third or fourth or fifth book (can’t remember) that I’ve started writing and so far I’m the farthest along in this book than any of the others. (Of course all of my other books were written in pencil way back in grade school, so is it any wonder?) In the past when I’ve outlined my stories, my creative side baulks and gets bored, because the characters don’t get to speak for themselves.
So I’m at a crossroads. I want to enter the NaNo this year. I think that the competition of it would be really good for me and I love and need a good dose of accountability. There are two things holding me back.
First, you are supposed to be starting on a new piece of fiction. They want you to start the book from scratch. You can spend the months before doing research, outlining, etc, but the first sentence cannot be written until November 1.
Second, I really want to finish the story I’m currently working on before I start something else. I have at least 3 other novels in my head right now with plausible stories. They would only take a little more thinking to get the nitty-gritty details ironed out, but I think they all have promise.