Ah, so it seems it is that time of year again. When the air is crisp and freezes upon inhalation, just the way I like it. A time when little psychos hyped up on too much sugar are running around trying to obtain more sugar. But this is not the time I am referring to. No. In two days, National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo begins.
For those who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, I’ll explain. Essentially, it’s a challenge to write a 50 000 word novel in one month, that month being November. In my first year doing it, I didn’t understand why they would pick this month of all months and frankly, I still have no clue why November. November is possibly the worst month to have this challenge in. In addition to the number of writing contests that happen in November, it is also the time of midterms and second midterms and papers.
The first year I participated was 2012 and happily, I was able to finish my novel titled Eternal Bonds. It was published through Createspace, but is not available in stores or as an ebook primarily because it is a U.S. based company and I didn’t have the patience to try to figure out how to navigate the taxation system and stuff for if I did end up selling any copies of my book. I attempted to write again in November 2013, but decided that doing full time studies (5 courses a semester), working part-time (every weekend), and studying for the LSAT was insane enough and I didn’t need to add 50 000 words of a novel on top of all the stress I already had. That novel I had wanted to be a historical novel set in the 1890s in England, but unfortunately that didn’t happen and I eventually lost interest.
This will be the second year I will be participating and I intend to finish this novel as I did the last! I am particularly excited for this year’s novel because this will show and explore a side of my that the world has never seen. There have been hints of it in my poetry, but nothing as comprehensive as this. My biggest fear about this novel, because it is written in first person, is that I will turn my character into a Mary Sue (AGAIN!). That is the last thing I want and I do want to show that she is like me, human, but of course I want her to be well liked, don’t we all? Now in preparation for this craziness that will be coming, a lot of blogs and pages I like and follow have shared truckloads of encouraging quotes and tips. My favourite among them is in regards to the characters. It said, “your characters are your children. You may think you know who they are, and who they are going to be, but you have no control over them. Be a good parent and don’t force your characters to be what you want them to be.” This is so important because I often create scenes that go in a direction I never anticipate, but sometimes (like in my last novel) I made my character react in a way that I needed them to react in order to achieve a certain result. This year I think I will try to just let the story unfold naturally. If my characters want to fight each other, I’ll let them. If they want to forgive each other, fine, so be it. I will not force a resolution where it seems unnatural and hopefully by doing so I won’t end up with another Mary Sue.
For this year’s novel, I have kind of taken some ideas I was going to use in my historical fiction novel and transplanted them here. This will be the first lengthy work that is not set in the past. Though I’ve technically only published one novel, I have dozens of manuscripts stashed away in a drawer set in far away countries in different time periods. As I’ve grown older, I have turned to more local settings. A sense of realism in my novels has become more important. Though I do write about the supernatural, it is usually set in places I have been too or researched extensively.
It is still my dream to write a time travel story similar to the magic treehouse stories of my childhood, but perhaps a little later. I do wonder if I can reach 50 000 words with those because if so, I’d like to make it into a series, doing one novel a year for NaNoWriMo.
Most of this sounds quite lazy. I mean, just writing a novel when it’s November rather than taking the effort to find an agent or publishing company to legitamately publish my work? And really it is laziness. I won’t deny that, but currently I am overwhelmed with school and trying to pass my LSAT again since last year under all that stress I was unable to get a score I could be happy with. Once law school is out of the way, I will begin to work on novels for publishing through an agent/publishing company.
I’m really excited for this year’s because I have so many more friends participating alongside me. I can’t wait to see what we all come up with at month’s end! Good luck to my fellow writers.