Simple answer: October is NaNoWriMo Prep Month.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo at least four or five times over the years, writing such great works of literature 🙂 as: Seeds of a New Power, Babble, and Endangered: Book two of the Zak Bates Eco-adventure. The past two years I’ve been a NaNoWriMo Winner, completing at least 50,000 words of a novel in one month.
Each year I learn something new about the craft of writing, about myself as a writer, and how to optimize this month-long writing marathon. Last year I learned about the value of using the previous month of October to prepare, much like a marathon runner prepares ahead of actually running the marathon.
This year my plan is to continue the learning process and to give regular updates both on my progress and what I’m learning that I think might benefit other writers. I hope to inspire a few readers to jump into NaNoWriMo for the first time. Consider this NaNo Blog Post #1.
I enjoy participating in NaNoWriMo because it provides a supportive structure that helps me to focus my writing efforts on one novel. And while I know at the end of the month I won’t have a publishable novel, I will be much closer to that end goal.
I also like the idea that I’ll be participating in an international writing project with hundreds of thousands of other writers (over 325,000 in 2014).
Why is October NaNoWriMo Prep Month?
Last year I committed to not only writing at least 50,000 words but to actually finish book two of the Kindred series which I estimated might be as much as 70,000 words. (It turned out to be 78,000 words by completion). I realized that to have any hope of achieving this prodigious goal, I would need to have a better idea what I wanted to write. Over the years, I’ve moved from being a ‘pantser’ (writing by the seat of my pants) to more of an outliner so this was the logical next step in that evolution.
What’s the 1st Step in Preparing?
For me, the first step in preparing for NaNoWriMo is to decide what book I’m going to write. I think most authors have multiple books that they want to write, so it’s not always easy to determine which one to focus exclusively on for a month. This year, I’ve had two books vying to be the novel during NaNoWriMo:
- Divine Discontent (book two in the Amberlin series), and
- FreeForm Reborn (book two in the FreeForm series).
Divine Discontent started off in the lead, in part because I’d received a timely and very positive review on Goodreads that prompted the reaction, “It must be time to continue the series.” (Yes, such reviews can influence authors; at least this author).
But I’ve been focusing a lot of my writing time on the Kindred Series which includes connecting this series with FreeForm. In the process of doing this I realized there needs to be a sequel to FreeForm. Enter a second timely review from another reader:
“Please tell me you are not going to leave a sista hanging? I loved FreeForm and need to know what happens next! When is the next part of FreeForm coming out?”
Now, I was in a dilemma that I’ve had before during NaNo Prep Month; which of these two storylines to pursue. So, I gave myself a few days to ponder this question. During this time, I started brainstorming and conducting some preliminary research on both. It didn’t take me long to realize that to do a thorough job with Divine Discontent, I’d need to conduct a lot more research into the decades of the sixties. While I enjoy doing such research, it can be quite time-consuming.
Bottom line — FreeForm Reborn won out to be the NaNoWriMo novel for 2015.
Next blog post I’ll explore the process of ‘prewriting’ that helps me to prepare myself to complete a full novel in just thirty days.
Feel free to leave me a message below and let me know if you’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year as well as asking any question you might have about the NaNo experience. I’ll do my best to answer them during this blog series.