Sunday, November 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 - I'm a Winner!

I did it! For the second year in a row, I completed the challenge of writing 50,000 words during the month of November. The YA I wrote last year got some great feedback at this year's Society of Children's Book Writers Carolinas Conference and is almost ready for the submission process, so I decided to try my luck again this year.

How it Went: I started off strong during the first week. I had a magazine production deadline that hit the second week of November so I tried to make sure I was on track before that started. As I suspected, I fell behind during the third week and only had 20,000 words written towards my goal. During the week of Thanksgiving I had some volunteer obligations at my children's school and out-of-town guests one night, but I still managed to catch up by avoiding Black Friday shopping and writing for several hours on Saturday, Nov. 29. The result? I finished at just a over 50,000 words on Nov. 29--a day ahead of schedule! I really don't know how I did it. I started this book with a general plot outlined in my head and not much else. I knew how the book would start and how it would end. The rest, I had to come up with as I went along. Not the best way to write a novel, I know. But I'm proud nonetheless. I have a beginning, middle, and end, and as one friend pointed out to me, "at least you'll have a pile of pages to work with instead of a big pile of nothing!"

In the past three years I've written two YA novels and one MG that needs to be revised yet again. But you know what? I am glad I took the time to write them before beginning a full-fledged submissions process. I have learned so much about the craft and feel much more excited about the quality of work I'm producing now. I hope everyone else thinks so too when the time comes.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Just a Snippet - From NaNoWriMo 2014

We’d had the locks changed and started using the alarm system again. I stopped taking Peaches on her daily afternoon walks, unless my mom was home and could go with me. Every morning before I drove to school, I opened the back door of my car and made sure no one was hiding there. I never opened the blinds anywhere in the house any more. When I left work, I always had someone walk me out, even if it meant waiting around an extra 30 minutes before a co-worker was free. Before I got in, I checked the backseat again obsessively. I stopped answering the home phone. I quit eating. I couldn't sleep, because every little sound I heard woke me up and made me convinced someone was in the house. And I saw him everywhere, even when he wasn’t really there.
 That was how Dylan broke me down, piece by piece.

How is NaNoWriMo 2014 going for you? I've been perpetually behind for the last week, but hope to log in some extra words to make up for it this weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

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I completed a 50,000-word rewrite of a YA novel last November, so when this year's challenge rolled around, I signed right on up. Never mind that I have clients that need my attention for work booked well into February of next year, or the fact that the magazine I edit went into production on November 7. I've had an idea for a new contemporary suspense/thriller YA in my head for about a year now, and I thought National Novel Writing Month would be the perfect time to work on it. Did I mention I went into this thing without even so much as an outline? Probably not my best decision.

I'll be honest. It's been a tough go of it. I had forgotten how tired I get when daylight savings time hits and how I'm worn out from writing magazine copy during the day. And also how much shuttling around I have to do with my kids to their various activities. Though I started out pretty strong, last week I wavered, going several days without writing anything for the book because I had a more pressing deadline.

But I'm determined not to give up. The fact is, when I sit down to work on this novel, the words do come out, even if it's a slow start sometimes. This is a story that needs to be told and so far it is unfolding pretty organically. The main character in the book, a teenager named Cassidy, ends up being stalked by a male classmate who is initially very charismatic and charming. I personally was a victim of stalking two different times in my life, both while in college. I recognized the stalking for what it was when a classmate in my department major began doing it, but it took me years to realize the behavior of an older ex-boyfriend could also fall under that category. When it happened to me, I was too young and scared to seek out help, so I wanted to channel that fear into the main story line of this book. I hope I'm doing it justice--and it's also been therapeutic as well.

The stats as of Nov. 19, 2014:
22,011 words written
27,989 words to write by Nov. 30
I need to write around 2,600 words per day to finish on time.

Can I do this? Yes! I wholeheartedly intend to. Here's a post I wrote recently at WOW! Women on Writing about holding myself accountable for my writing projects (hint: this blog post is part of that).

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, how's it going?