NaNoWriMo 2011

Yes, I’m doing NaNoWriMo 2011. And I’m going to win.*

* Just like every person who writes 50,000 words in November is considered a NaNo winner. 

Winning NaNoWriMo 2010 is pretty high on my list of personal accomplishments. I am a writer, but I’m not as prolific as I want to be, and doing NaNo forced me to write like crazy. I should say, type like crazy. I typed and typed, and I finished my novel in 14 days. That said, I have never read it. My friend Alia did, and it probably had a few pages of decent writing, but NaNo is not for writing The Great American Novel; it’s for writing a draft. That may someday become The Great American Novel.

I’m in for 2011. I have several ideas percolating in my head, but nothing concrete. Actually, I should say I have a few scenes in my head, but no actual story. One is set in Texas and has been nagging me for over six years now. It involves a dog, a Jeep, a marathon and a bartender. Maybe I will start by writing that, and see if it brings a story to light.

As you can tell, I’m a “pantser” — rather than a “planner,” — when it comes to NaNo. Planners do outlines and stuff. Pantsers just… write. Although I aspire to publish SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE, SOMEDAY, I am not putting any pressure on myself for NaNo. Just finish it. One NaNo phrase of encouragement is, “The novel that never gets written, never gets published.”

Two things helped me win NaNo 2010: never hitting backspace; and using a really cool Excel spreadsheet that My Chemical Romance made for me. My Chemical Romance knows way too much about Excel — his last job required that he attend days-long seminars on utilizing Excel, so he can do everything but cook dinner with it. He used Excel to convince me that we should purchase a 2010 diesel Jetta station wagon. He made an extremely detailed spreadsheet comparing the costs of the Jetta versus his old car (2001 Ford Expedition) versus buying an older used car. It took me a while to accept it, but now I grudgingly admit that buying the Jetta was a great investment. I was skeptical because it was new and it doesn’t fit all the kids, but a new car = less maintenance expenses, and it gets incredible gas mileage (40+mpg). I use it on the weekends for errands, when I just have a couple or three kids with me, and I use it when I go to visit my Jugs. My Chemical Romance has a long daily commute, about 35 miles each way, and it’s a great car for that.

But back to NaNo. I’m excited to start, and see where my novel goes. Although I haven’t read my novel from last year, I know it was too “tight,” for lack of a better word. Very few characters and not a lot of movement. My weakness as a writer is both writing dialogue and the dialogue itself, and that contributed to the claustrophobia of the novel. If there’s not a lot of spoken words, the action has to take place either within one character or in exposition. I had three main characters and a few outside characters. At the time, I was pregnant with Porcelain and receiving iron infusions so that figured in prominently — my main character was a nurse at an infusion clinic, treating a pregnant woman. Will this year’s novel include a mom who has recentlymoved and is starting over in a new city? With a baby who hates to sleep? Um, probably not, because it’s not very exciting. It’s not something I’d want to read. That’s really where I try to go with my ideas. Would I find this interesting? Would I want to read more?

I’d love some plot ideas, readers! Here’s are a few that SeventhSanctum suggests

The story is about a laborer, an actor, and a heir who hates a detective. It takes place in an outpost in Europe. International adoption plays a major role in this story.

The story is about a secretary who can’t resist helping people. It starts in a sports bar. The story ends with a tragedy.

The story is about a composed psychiatrist who is constantly opposing a predictable biologist. It takes place in Tokyo. The story begins with the taking of a test and ends with smuggling.

This is a psychological revelation piece with an emphasis on the need for self-expression. The story is about a peaceful accountant from a bad family. It starts in a village in Africa. Archaeology versus respecting native cultures plays a major role in this story.

This is an action comedy with an undercurrent about how people can’t beat the odds. The story is about a composed ambassador, a corporate official, and an ignorant media personality. It starts in a hospital. The fallout from World War II plays a major role in this story.


One Response

  1. YAY!!! I got mentioned in a blog!!!!
    Does that mean I’m high enough in the pecking order to earn my own pseudonym?!!! 😀

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