So, it’s November. Do you know what that means? It is National Novel Writing Month and I don’t know about you, but that means it’s time to get my butt into gear. In truth, I have never actually participated in National Novel Writing Month before. I have used it to get motivated with revising my memoir (last year) and before that I hadn’t really thought much of it. I didn’t realize there was an entire online community and just how many of my friends, colleagues, and clients used it as a way to kick-start a project they wanted to start (or for some wanted to finish) and I think it is great. I for one, plan to hold myself accountable by posting my daily word counts on Facebook. I am also registering with the official website and am curious as to what they have as far as resources and a local community to help the writing flow.
I am pretty excited for a couple of reasons. The first is that I have spent the last two years focused on my memoir, when I consider fiction to be my creative writing roots/foundation. I have only written two works of fiction (both short stories) in the last five years. I need to get back to it. The second reason is what I am writing this month… I love thrillers. They are my favorite thing to read, and they always will be, but I have never even considered writing one before. I have always focused on coming-of-age, subtle commentaries or autobiographical instances I don’t want to claim as my own when it comes to writing fiction. Write what you know – I have that down. But now, this month, I am writing what I love to read.
I first got the semblance of an idea back when I was living in Inglewood, California (2007). While I had my own horror movie moment (My Slasher Movie Moment: When My Real Life Imitated A Horror Flick) that included the power being cut, a criminal on the loose, a creepy shower scene and an intruder lurking in my condo, this isn’t about that. This is about the condo building’s basement. That basement gave me a serious case of the wiggins. I only went down there when I had to do laundry, since that is where the laundry room was located, but perhaps that was also why I only did laundry once a month. I don’t know why, but something about the basement in that building seemed off. I always got a seriously creepy vibe and would speak loudly as if I was talking to someone, even though I was alone, to avoid being snatched by someone or something sinister – because I always felt something, even if I couldn’t see it.
Now I’m not a believer or skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, but I am a big believer in intuition. I knew I wanted to write a story about that place, but had no idea what the story actually was. I had the title, and the where, and a vague idea of the protagonist, but the conflict, the plot and all of the other things completely eluded me for years. But as time has passed, pieces of the story started to appear and when I visited the “haunted” Stanley Hotel (The Stanley Hotel: Ghost Tours And Getting Our Inner Stephen King On) suddenly everything clicked. All of the pieces I already had came together and I suddenly had most of the blanks and “between space” filled in. I had my story, and I was incredibly excited to start on it.
Perhaps I am less ambitious than my fellow NanoWrimos, because I am less set on finishing the novel itself and more focused on getting it to a certain point. In order to be marketable novels should be at least 80,000 words (though 90,000 is a more realistic low end for length). So if I was realistic I would need to write 3,000 words every day for this novel. I would love that, but while I am all about challenging myself, I am not about setting myself up for failure. I have a house to run, my own business to run, personal obligations and I am still trying to figure out my memoir, so I can’t pretend like I’ll have the time or energy to churn out 3,000 words (8-10 pages) per day, every day without fail. My personal goal is going to be just over 50,000 words by the end of the month. (And to be fair, according to the website, the month is about writing a 50,000 word novel so I meet their standards, though technically at 50,000 words you have a novella.)
I’m off to a good start. I’m letting the story flow through me, and while I would love to write chronologically that isn’t what is happening. But hey, as long as it is working, and the story is coming, who am I to question in what way, what time or what order it happens – as long as it keeps happening! 😉
So by the end of this month, I will have written 50,000 words full of adult thrills. And I want everyone reading this to hold me to it! Are you participating this month? I want to know what you’re writing and if you need someone to (like I do), I’m glad to hold you to it too! 😉
The Official Nanowrimo Site – nanowrimo.org