Now is the time to prepare for NaNoWriMo in November
I’ve written nonfiction all of my adult life and recently began writing fiction for some variety. I started with a short story (mostly flash fiction: under 1,000 words) because it was faster to write and easier to experiment. And if it doesn’t work, I haven’t invested too much time. Recently I received some professional feedback on my short stories.
Then I upped the word count and wrote a novella (longer than a short story and shorter than a novel.) When I outlined it—yes, I’m a planner—I expected a word count in the lower 20s. It ended up at 29,000 words. I sent it off to another editor for her professional opinion on the overall content and writing.
Though I say the first draft of my novella is done, I wonder if it is. After sending it off, I had an idea to weave in a second story arc of another character. I’ve outlined her story, too, which will give me another 12,000 to 15,000 words. Now it’s approaching novel-length (at least for YA romance).
I’m doing all of this in preparation to write a novel. Since the writer’s first novels are generally bad, I want to get this out of my system and move on. Besides my story idea isn’t too marketable, so it’s definitely practice.
I plan to write the first draft this November as part of NaNoWriMo, something I’ve wanted to do for the past few years but never had the time. This year will be different—I hope. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to write the first 50,000 words of a novel in one month.
When working on my Novella, my low word count day was about 1,000 and my best day was 3,600 (the words really flowed, and I didn’t want to stop). Most days I was in the 1,500 to 2,000-word range, but that was only for Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. For NaNoWriMo, I need to keep up that pace seven days a week, which I could definitely do if I didn’t have to work.
The rules of NaNoWriMo allow you to prepare prior to November 1, but you can’t do any actual writing until after midnight on October 31. I’ve done my prep work and am itching to start. Though I doubt I will achieve 50,000 words in a month, I do want to participate and see how far I can get.
One possible roadblock would be if my agent finds a publisher for one of my nonfiction book ideas. Then NaNoWriMo will go on hold for another year, and I’ll spend November writing nonfiction—and I’m okay with that. After all, I’ll still be writing, and that’s what’s important.
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Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.