In two weeks one of the largest, most fun, and challenging writing opportunities will begin — NaNoWriMo. And if you happen to be a writer who’s been sleeping under a rock for the past several years and think I just spoke a word of Klingon, NaNoWriMo actually stands for National Novel Writing Month. That month is November.
And now is the time to prepare for it. You see, the aim of NaNoWriMo is simple – complete a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. That’s right – 30 days to write 50,000 words or about 1,666 words per day. So, while technically you don’t want to start writing those words just yet, you can prepare the soil by deciding what novel you want to write, outlining the chapters, developing the characters, creating the conflict, etc.
Now, truth be told I’m a NaNoWriMo novice, having participated for the first time last year when I wrote Endangered — book two of the Zak Bates Eco-Adventure series.  Last year NaNoWriMo snuck up on me and so the first week was spent figuring out what to write and outlining the scenes. Luckily, I had many of the characters already created from writing the first book of the series – Dominion Over All.
So, this year I’m starting early. I have two book ideas that are in the running to be written during November:

  • Ivory – book three of the Zak Bates Eco-Adventure series. (and yes, it has the inside track at the moment.) Zak Bates, Ra-Kit the magic cat, and Sampson the flying dog are on their next adventure as they try to stop the illegal ivory trade that is decimating  the elephant population.
  • Love for the Ages – a first person account of an aging writer who loses his wife and soulmate to cancer and promised to mourn her death for only a year, and then “get on with his life.” This one came from a strange and very emotional dream about a year ago.

A little desktop inspiration as I work on Ivory. (And no, it’s not made of ivory – soap stone.)

So, I’ve given myself up to seven days to decide which one to work on by researching and developing characters, etc. on both, then choosing the one to focus on for the second week. So, hopefully, I’ll  be fully prepared to start the rough draft by November 1.
Today I’m surfing the internet about the illegal ivory trade and saving pertinent web sites in my Ivory Scrivener file. (One more reason I love Scrivener. It allows me to store all my research material in one place including web pages.)
Here are just a few striking reasons I want to focus on this topic in Ivory:

According to Christo, at the beginning of the 1980s there were over a million elephants roaming Africa. Today that number has dramatically fallen to “no more than 400,000.”

And this as reported on CNN:

But the wanton shooting of the innocents to satisfy vanity has reached a level of madness no one can ignore. This is perhaps made most clear in the recent destruction of 400 elephants in the Central African Republic by armed militia from Sudan.

And this last one:

The African elephant is in great measure the architect of its environment…. And as the elephant disappears, scientists and conservationists say, many other species will also disappear from vast stretches of forest and savanna, drastically altering and impoverishing whole ecosystems…. The problem is compounded by the elephant’s relatively slow rate of population replacement. It gestates for 20 to 21 months and takes 15 to 20 years to reach breeding age.

Anyone else out there planning on participating in NaNoWriMo next month? Let me hear from you. How are you preparing yourself so that rough draft will flow from your fingers into the next Great American Novel?