I’ve committed to writing the draft of my follow-up novel (the sequel to the prequel Whisper of Lies), over the next 30-days by participating in NaNoWriMo. For those of you not familiar with it, NaNoWriMo means ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ It has become an annual affair during the month of November.
‘Quote:’ It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30. ‘Unquote.’ You can find more info. here.
Tall order that, whipping out 50,000 words, especially if you are a novice. If you’re looking for inspiration to get going on that book you’ve placed on ice or you’ve been meaning to start writing, but lacked the know-how, register at NaNoWriMo and join a community in your area. Interact in the forums and connect with a writing buddy.
That said, how do you get off the mark if you’re looking for some inspiration? My advice is to do a brain dump. Empty all the scenes you’ve been playing in your head like a mini movie on to the page. Remember, the focus is based on word count, not quality.
Arguably, this could seem counterintuitive, because there is a lot involved when writing. Nevertheless, use this opportunity to test that you can commit and you can be disciplined. At the end of the month, you will have a finished product that you may be able to edit and thereafter publish.
As for me, not a bright beginning to this journey, I will admit. But before I elaborate on that admission, I have to explain that my decision to commit to NaNoWriMo was impromptu. Why? My simple answer is that though I had decided to take the rest of the year off after my book, Whisper of Lies, was launched in March, I’ve been mentally percolating the sequel, and well… in all honesty, I must be crazy given my current work load. To add, I decided to blog about how I’m doing and the challenges that I know I will face each day. Surely that is confirmation that I am stark, raving bloody mad!
I may be a pro, but I have methods that I use when preparing to write a book which include outlining the overall book chapter-by-chapter and, that generally takes weeks. So given that I made the decision over the weekend, my elaborate admission is that I have not started on day 1. Rather, I spent the weekend and day 1 working on the outline using a beat sheet covering such things as, concept (extension of my idea), through line (aka elevator pitch), theme, hook, outlining scenes etc. So I have a lot of catching up to do. When inspiration takes over, I can knock out 5k to 10k words during the course of a day.
For this book, that is untitled, the concept and through line was not terribly challenging, as it’s an extension of the first book. Finding a hook that I felt was compelling took some mulling over. I’m pretty happy with what I came up with. So, through my folly, I’m envisioning a rough draft by the end of the month and that is empowering for me.
Now I need some stimulus to provoke my fingers to tap these keys.