Stormy Ocean, Hanna Bergblau

NaNoWriMo: Week One


I had all but decided on doing a Regency romance novel for NaNoWriMo this year. I flipped through my writing notebook for the notes I knew I had about the romance novel idea when I came across a one-line novel idea that struck me as really awesome and super fun. Honestly, I don’t really remember coming up with it in the first place. But once I saw it, I couldn’t get it out of my head, which told me that I probably should focus on it this month and see what happens.

I’m not a planner. Usually when I start a novel, I wing it. I just keep going. If I outline, I find myself stuck more often, as though I’m telling myself subconsciously that I have to follow the outline and can’t stray from it. That’s not true. Of course I don’t have to follow an outline exactly, but try and tell my brain that. But because I couldn’t start writing until November 1, I found myself sketching out some characters and chapter and scene summaries in the days leading up to the day I could start writing.

I feel good about having some things sketched out. My “outline” only goes up to about chapter 6, so after that I’m on my own. But I have a good handle on my characters and everything. Also, in planning, I wrote about half of a query letter. Putting the cart before the horse? Perhaps, but at least it’s a somewhat solid book summary to work with.

Another thing I did, which I’ve never done before, is create a cover for my book. The NaNo website suggests that participants are 60% more likely to finish if they have a cover. I don’t know about that, but I was feeling like doing some design work, I have a new favorite font I wanted to play with, and I found photos I really like, so I created a cover. It really doesn’t actually match up with the novel perfectly, but when do covers ever do that? Anyway, you can see it and follow my progress outside of these updates at my NaNo profile.
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Light bulb, Cesar Quintero

A novel in a month

I want to do National Novel Writing Month this year. I’ve only successfully completely NaNoWRiMo once, in college, with a romance novel that I probably should at some point at least dust off and reread. Since then, I’ve tried twice and made it about a week or a less each of those two times.

This year is the first in many where I’ve not been in the middle of a novel when November rolled around, so it would appear as though 2015 is a really great year to put myself to the test.

The biggest hurdle I have this year isn’t the time restraint or the word count or anything like that, no, it’s the idea. I don’t have an idea. Oh, sure, I have about a half dozen ideas for YA novels but I really, really need to take a break from that. I need to write something else. Anything else. But ideas for something that isn’t YA just aren’t coming. I’ve even started considering how to turn one of my YA ideas into a non-YA novel, and I think it’s possible, but I’m not sure.

I’m a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ writer, which means I don’t outline or anything like that. NaNo isn’t really good for writers like me. NaNo requires at least a little bit of planning. Like at least having an idea. It might not be a really big one, but it’s usually an opening scene or an opening line or a conflict or at the very least a character. I don’t know if I have any of that right now, outside of YA.

Going into November 1 with the intent to hit 50K by the end of the month on a barely-there idea for a story doesn’t sound like it’s going to be much of a success.
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