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National Novel Writing Month 2010

Every November, there’s a Thing going on around the world, called the National Novel Writing Month. Should be International and not National, really, but I suppose they prefered NaNoWriMo to InNoWriMo or something. It’s a writing challenge, so that all those of us who say we’re going to write a novel “one day” stop making up lame excuses and get down and actually DO write it. Not “one day”, but rather “starting today”. Or, actually, starting yesterday. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days – and you have November to do it in.

My NaNo history so far has been mixed.

The first attempt was made in 2006, but I started writing it by hand and didn’t know what to write about so just wrote a lot of nonsense. Gave up after 3000 or so words. Not willing to be deterred, I went back for a second try in 2007. To begin with, I was going to be writing something along the lines of an autobiography, but that idea was slated on the forum, because that’s “not a novel” and “you have to write a novel”. Which in turn was met with a hissy fit on my part. But I got over it in time for the starting date and went into the new, not really very planned, project which had the working title “Moo” until I came up with another, slightly better, one:

… if only they had discovered they had any sort of mission before the 50k mark …

It’s a story that validated as 52,407 words, and to be fair, it’s a lot of words about very little. It’s four young people of various ages, and they end up in, for argument’s sake, Narnia. And nothing much happens. Occasionally, there’s a glimmer of things that may be going on and then it turns out that, no, that’s pretty much where the book ends. Still, it was a good learning experience and if I ever want to see that story become something, it will need a complete and total re-write to actually include a plot. It showed me that I really can write a (short) novel in a month’s time.

For 2008, I started writing some kind of paranormal investigation story but didn’t quite do it properly. I didn’t really have a clue as to what was going to happen, who the characters were and then I ended up in a fairly cringeworthy sex-scene and it was just very bad. As it happened, in October, I had been looking up what it would cost to fly over to Sweden to see a friend, and as it turned out, the dates I tried showed “dirt cheap”, so I decided to not just theorise about going, but actually going. Together, we embarked on a project together, and it’s not exactly kosher if you play strictly by NaNo’s self-imposing rules. You’re not supposed to write together, and you’re supposed to start something new. Well, we did write together and while we started several new storylines, it was not a new story as such. We roleplayed our way through November, basically. In the end, we managed to get a grand total of 103,113 words validated (of which my input seems to have been jotted down as 51,557), and we moved lightyears ahead on that particular plotline in the roleplaying game. And we had heaps of fun too.

What do you get if you take a Slytherin student
and let her fall in love with her Divination professor?
And let him overcome his morals and fall in love with her too?
A whole lot of pink, fluffy awesomeness, that’s what! 😀

In 2009, we had just moved into a new house, and I was busy trying to keep up with my psychology studies, so the idea I started writing didn’t get very far. In fact, I didn’t even remember participating last year, until I found a folder on my desktop revealing a few, puny Word files. Needless to say, I didn’t get very far at all and gave up fairly quickly. Still an interesting concept, but I need to work out the details before I can actually write about it, I reckon.

For 2010, I have my work cut out. The modern day Jane Eyre I’ve posted about before, is part of it. For this year, I’m mad enough to do two. The one that will be my official NaNo project is the modern take on Jane Eyre. My secondary project is a re-run of 2008 – I’ve teamed up with my bestest friend again to continue the plot we have begun. In fact, we’ve started by continuing on some plotlines we began writing on in the summer of 2009 but which have been put in hiatus for a bit.

So far, primary project is going swimmingly. Day 1 ended with 2528 words, except when I tried to enter that on the site, the site had crashed, so it shows up as I wrote nothing yesterday. Sigh. Can’t say that chapter one is particularly interesting, but it does take Modern Jane from Sweden to Modern Thornfield, where she meets Modern Mrs. Fairfax. It needs padding, I’d say. Not so much padding, but fleshing out – need more descriptions of scenery and that sort of thing. One thing at a time.

Even though I have written 2800-ish words just on the subject of Modern Jane meeting Modern Rochester for the first time, the plan is not to cheat, but to try and re-write it. I was limited to how many words I could write at the time, but here, there is no upper limit, so I can do it properly. Actually, I should post that and not just the two parts I posted before, which were second drafts, rather than the one-part third draft, which is a definite improvement.

Secondary project is slower, but that’s partially down to not having written anything of that ilk for about a year so am a bit rusty. Partially also down to the three-ish threads we’ve got going at the moment were all waiting for my writing partner to respond, and she’s busy with uni work so doesn’t have as much time to write, and I can’t continue those threads as it’s not my turn. (She writes her character, I write mine.) We only managed 1205 (out of 3334) words yesterday, but hopefully we can make up for some lost ground when her project is finished and she has more time. 🙂 Today, we’re on 1096 and it’s only just about mid-day. But yeah, I’m not too bothered if we don’t make 100k. We do have lives to live as well! (Allegedly, I might add.)

And if you mix in the Divination professor’s Durmstrang counterpart,
and let her be the mother he never had, it gets even better. 😉

On the plus side, the character I’m writing there, just happens to look a LOT like Richard Armitage, and considering it’s a love story, it’s not like either of us is lacking the impetus to write. She because her character gets to be romanced by a brooding Richard Armitage with a Belfast accent, me because I in order to write about him, get to imagine a brooding Richard Armitage with a Belfast accent doing my bidding. And, on memorable occasions, doing so without clothing on. One could do worse. 😉

Anyone else out there doing NaNoWriMo this year, or have done in the past? What are you writing about and how’s it coming along? 🙂

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on. Might get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

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