I have some open tabs on my computer right now, both regarding the town of Melmond, which I needed to research for my current WIP, that YA novel I’m always yammering about. But I thought I’d take a quick break and talk about NaNoWriMo for a bit.
Back in 2005, after I’d been in college for a year, I decided to give NaNoWriMo a try. Though I’d heard about it many times before, this was the first year I was going to attempt it. (The lead-up to this was that I’d read a bunch of novels over the past year, most of them children’s and young adult, while waiting for the next Harry Potter book to come out. Reading those books made me realize that I wanted to be a writer.)
I wasn’t cocky. I didn’t know if I’d actually succeed. I DID think I was a really brilliant writer, though, and that I’d probably only need to do one draft of my book before I needed to sell it. (This is terrible thinking and no one should think this.) The book I ended up writing was an adult novel. Down the line this novel would eventually lead me to Star Mackie and Hope Is a Ferris Wheel—that’s right! This was the Sixth-Grade Delinquents book.
I did not win. I got about… 25-30 thousand words in before November was up, though in my defense, November is a terrible month to have to write a novel, especially if you’re a student. Anyway, I failed, but those 30,000 words were my first 30,000 words on the way to being a writer. And I didn’t give up on my book, which, at 30,000 words, was not even CLOSE to being done. I mean, I did finish the first part. One part of four. Four parts total.
(I eventually calculated that, had I finished that novel, it would have been around 130,000 words. Before I finally stopped writing it, I reached 102,759 words.)
A little too much to handle for my first NaNoWriMo.
After that, I took it easy. I didn’t enter NaNo again while I was in school. Actually, that’s a lie. I think I tried it again my final year of grad school and failed. I got about 12,000 words in on that novel, a legit YA.
It was the year AFTER that, then, I think, that I finally won National Novel Writing Month. I did the bulk of my writing on this book, an older-MG/younger-YA, in the final week of November that year, and won with about thirty minutes to spare. Kind of terrifying.
Sadly, that novel I wrote was TERRIBLE! I shelved it, and didn’t look at it until last week, when I was reminded of NaNoWriMo again. I was surprised to find that the book started out pretty well before dissolving into meaningless drivel about three-quarters of the way through. I began thinking, “Maybe I can fix this,” instead of, “I want to light my laptop on fire.”
Anyway, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you the best of luck! I am again attempting to use the month to finish my WIP, hence the Melmond tabs. I’ve got high hopes this year.