Participating in NaNoWriMo

OK, I’ve skipped it the past two years, but I’ve finally decided that I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo 2014. For those of you not familiar with it, I’ve basically just signed up for a month of self-hating masochism …all for the love of writing.

NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.”

Simply put: I’m committing to write a full novel in just 30 days.

Now, I’ve attempted it in the past and failed miserably. I’ve learned that it’s nearly impossible to commit to writing for 30 straight days without a SOLID PLAN. If you do not have a template or outline to go off of, you’re basically running on caffeine, enthusiasm, and the naive hope that somehow your characters will perfectly show you the way.

While I admit I have had full stories pour out of me with no planning before – including a 90+ page novella I wrote in 48 hours – 99.9% of the time the “leave it to luck” technique doesn’t work. Two failed previous NaNoWriMo attempts are the proof.

This time, however, I do have a plan. I’m taking said 90-page novella, tentatively titled The Memoirs of a Yo-Yo Dieter (sound familiar?), and I’m going to completely rework it.

I’m spending the month of October planning:

  • Creating a timeline of events based on what I have so far and what I want to add.
  • Identifying backstory elements, characters I want to introduce, and clearly defining their personalities.
  • Telling as many friends as possible so they HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

My hope is to completely rewrite the entire novella (which currently stands at 90 pages, 36,000 words) and end up with a finished product around 150 pages, or 60,000+ words.

Here’s a teensy, tinsy preview of what I’m going for:

Sweat poured down my brow as I struggled to keep my legs moving. The Spinning instructor seemed to have a personal vendetta against my butt, thighs, and calves. With a waist slightly smaller than my thigh and breasts that bounced in perfect rhythm to her cheerful voice, I realized that she was likely the anti-Christ, and I should probably notify the authorities as quickly as possible. If I could breathe, of course.

While I huffed through the grueling pre-dawn workout, Alanna smiled from the bike next to me, tossing an encouraging nod. She didn’t even look winded, the skinny bitch, while I struggled not to faint. If I didn’t love her so much, I probably would’ve thrown my towel at her.

Think… Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Tom Robbins, then has a baby with Neil Gaiman. Kind of the style I’m aiming for, at least.

Wish me luck! And – PLEASE – hold me accountable!


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