Well, I finished the costumes and they were fantastic if I say so myself. (My kids had decided to “be” Felicity and Elizabeth, the Revolutionary War era American Girls, long gowns, lace, caps and all, of course with the historically accurate Velcro closures.) The cookies were baked, class parties held, pumpkins carved and chocolate shared.
Now that Halloween motherly duties are over, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for the NaNoWriMo plunge. It’s the first day and I’m one of about 70,000 writers participating in the challenge to write at least 50,000 words of a novel by Dec 1.
Most of the WriMos are unpublished. Many are taking their very first shot at novel writing. I commend these newbies, because of all the people who say they’d like to write a novel someday, these brave souls have actually defined “someday” as TODAY.
I didn’t find it surprising to hear that the success rate in past challenges has been about 17%. My guess is that some participants get crushed by reality early on. I know there are other “failures” who fell short of the goal but still wrote considerable chunks. Even getting halfway is an achievement. 25,000 words equals about 100 pages of manuscript. Even if it needs major revisions, this isn’t bad for a month’s work!
I’m participating for a special reason of my own. After six books, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to tackle first drafts. I have put more pressure on myself to be brilliant, to be efficient, with the result that I self-censor too much. I’ve chosen not to follow up on intriguing ideas because I couldn’t understand the characters’ motivations, or they seemed historically implausible (not impossible), or because I was afraid readers wouldn’t like them, etc… The problem is, if you cut them off too many times, the girls in the basement (or the subconscious mind, or the muse, or whatever you call the dark, strange place where ideas come from) go on strike.
So for this month, I’m going to ignore all those worries and trust that strange dark place. I’m going to write what I feel like, for pleasure and for wordcount. I’m going to trust that if I write a scene I love, I’ll be able to figure out how to make it fit believably into a story. I’m going to relinquish control to the girls in the basement. Fly on the bat’s back and trust that I won’t fall.
Wish me luck!
LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, RT Reviewers’ Choice, Best Regency Romance of 2005
P.S. The picture here is “Ariel on a Bat’s Back” by Henry Singleton, first exhibited in 1819, from the Tate.
Good luck Elena! I going to do my own version and try to get my novella finished this month.
Since every weekend is booked there’s no way I’d make the NaNoWriMo goal.
Love the bat!!!
Good luck, Elena! Hope this works for you. If I had any sense, I’d probably do the same — like you, I’m finding every first draft harder than the last, for many of the same reasons you state!
Cara, you can join anytime before Nov 30 (that is, if the website is working, right now the high traffic is slowing things down).
But I know challenges don’t work for everyone. For me, the cameraderie helps. It’s not really the hordes at NaNo that make the difference, though. It’s a few closer writing buddies who are doing this with me. You see, they’re people who believe in me more than I do, and I would just hate to let them down!
Elena, currently at 2104 words 🙂
Write on, Elena!
I, too, am doing my own version of NaNoWriMo to finish this book. I’m just forcing myself to write and not go back to fix things and that is hard for me. Then I get stopped by the geography questions. Have you ever tried to follow the course of the River Esk????
Good luck with the challenge.
Good luck!! Anyone who can do that, wow! 🙂
Good luck, Elena!
And congratulations on a successful Halloween, too.
I’m glad the costumes worked out, Elena. I’ll bet they were cute as pies!
My favorite last night was two brothers in Star Wars warrior suits, very well done, and their little sister had a long white dress and a brown felt hat. The hat had two felt coils, one on each side. PRINCESS LEIA!!! It was sooooo clever.
Good luck on the 50,000 words. I could probably write 50 words. But I might need more than a month. 🙂
Actually, I am writing a lengthy thing right now–the difference is that nobody will want to read mine when it’s done.
We live in a security complex, so we’ve never gotten any trick-or-treaters. But we always buy candy just in case! And then–darn it!–we’re forced to eat it ourselves!
All the best, Elena. You’re such a dedicated writer that I’m sure by the end of the month you’ll have a rough-rough draft done.
Diane, have you tried writing in the garden and by shutting down your Internet connection? I’ve found I’m far more productive (on rough drafts), if I use my Alphie and haunt the local neighbord café.
SHUT DOWN MY INTERNET CONNECTIONS????? (Shudder)
That is good advice, Keira! I am quite addicted to my email and to blogger!
I know I can’t write at a cafe or Starbucks. I’m much better able to block out my environment at home. Believe me, I very easily forego all household chores when I’m writing….when I’m not writing, too, as a matter of fact.
Alpha lovers unite!!!
I love my alpha too. I write on the balcony in good weather, amid my potted plants.
(At the moment, though, my plants are under serious attack from EVIL EVIL SQUIRRELS. I haven’t yet figured out what to do. EVIL!!!)
Yay, Cara! Another Alphie user!
Diane, sorry I committed a grave offense there by suggesting no connection to the outside world. Heh.
I thrive on the noise, while other people prefer the quiet and privacy of their homes. Then again, there was this writer who could only get herself out of tricky plot corners, if she lay in her bathtub with a washcloth on her face, and a notebook nearby.
fly on the bat’s back…
Loved this whole post, Elena.
GOOD LUCK WITH NANO!