Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo Musings Along the Way

I may be feeling too confident. Everything might come to a crashing halt any day now but so far I'm ahead of schedule for NaNoWriMo. If you are one of the people left in the world who don't know what I'm talking about, it is National Novel Writing Month for all us people across the world who want to tackle the horrendous task of completing a novel in a month.
Have you ever said, "writing a novel couldn't be that hard", or, "I could write a novel if I tried"? Well this was your chance. Don't despair if you haven't signed up. You can sign up late or do it next year. It's an annual thing so anyone who procrastinates can jump in next time. 
I stared at my computer all summer, wishing I could get going on the second in The Dream Jumper Series. I have readers waiting for this thing. I just couldn't get motivated. Publishing #2, The Dream Jumper's Secret, was originally planned for this fall but without any words on the page, that didn't look good. I had the basic story line. I just couldn't write it down.
At the last minute I signed up for NaNoWriMo when I realized that my hubby will be away on trips over half the month of November and I'll have the freedom to write with uninhibited abandon. Don't get me wrong, he's a wonderful husband, and I love him dearly, but he does blame the state of our messy house on my novel writing. He works from home so I imagine he spends the whole day wondering when I'm going to get up from my keyboard and do something around this 4,000 square foot house. And I spend most of the day cursing the day I let him buy this big place, wondering how expensive a cleaner would be. Until I hit the bestseller list I haven't been able to justify paying someone to clean. I'm driven by the need to prove something, most days.
So you see, I had two problems with the novel--no motivation and lack of support. Then I realized I had a third problem. Fear. I love the first book. It was nominated for BEST INDIE FIRST BOOK by Indie Rom/Con this year, has 166 reviews, has been downloaded 67,000 times and I consider it as small success.

I'm terrified to write the second one in case it's not nearly as good. Here's what helped give me that last push. Just before November, I read a series of 3 books by an author I felt was on my level 11 months ago. She and I published around the same time, went neck in neck on the free lists last winter and I was intrigued by her provocative cover and title. Sins and Needles is the name of the first one. I foolishly didn't read it, thinking it was about drug use, not tattooing. Okay, I'm a dork. But I also didn't want to buy it and help her do better than me. Did I tell you I'm competitive?
She published the second book in her series a few months after the first, then the third a few months after that, managing to fit in a prequel as well. According to what I've read about her, she writes at an alarming speed, holed up in an office, stopping for nothing until the book is done. In the last year, her books rose to the top of the charts, she's now represented by Scott Waxman of the Waxman Agency and is published by Hachette. This month, she is my hero. Not just because she wrote quickly but also because she turned out some fine reading. They are romantic/suspense, but more erotic and more suspenseful. Edgy. Hard to describe. Just buy the first book and see if you can get through the swearing, sexy scenes, and gritty descriptions. If so, you're in for a wild ride.
Before I started NaNo I took mental note of what made that series so compelling and decided to get off my fat arse and write the next book in the series. I plotted it out, penned out 35 scenes like Bob Mayer said Jennifer Cruisie does and signed up for NaNo. Excitement started to rear its lovely head. On Halloween night I was like a race horse chomping at the bit, pawing the ground at the gate, anxious to start writing. It was difficult to not jot down even a few words.
November 1st, I woke up, wrote my 2,000 words and left on a girls' weekend with my laptop. I woke each morning I was away, hours before the other ladies, got myself a cuppa and planted myself in the big chair by the roaring fireplace to write 2,000 words. I came home the first weekend with a really good start to my book. Yipee!
Did I lose steam? Not so far. I'm still writing like a maniac. Everyone has their writing process. This is the process that worked for me-- plotting ahead of time and planning scenes. My friend Geri, is the opposite. She needs to do away with all the obsessive planning and just give herself permission to write a very rough roughdraft. See where the story goes just before she writes it down.
Once I gave myself permission to just write the damned thing, much like the Cherry Adair Finish the Damned Book Challenge, I was off to the races. (With all these horsey references, you'd think I was a jockey). And now I'm up to almost 40,000 words this first week. They are not all great words and the rewrite is going to be horrendous but I'm getting this story down. I know now that I will finish this book by the end of the month unless I become like the hare in that fable where it falls asleep and the turtle wins the race. Knowing I'm 4/5th's of the way done is a beautiful thing over here in my head. I've set my sights on a Valentine's Day publication and am having the cover artist get busy for the second book in the Dream Jumper series.
Having this glorious international challenge, knowing that there are thousands and thousands of us out there in far-reaching countries, struggling to write, helps spur me on. I have a competitive nature but it's all friendly and fun. Mostly, I'm challenging myself to be the best I can be.
Also, checking in on word count is right up my alley. If you're writing and want to friend me, my name this year is Kimberwrite and I'd love some friends. I asked to join a group here in Seattle and didn't get a reply, so I took that as a no.
If you are stuck and can't get going check in to NaNo's motivational speeches by bestselling authors. Some are very inspirational.
Here's what works for me if I get stuck along the way.

1. Get up from the computer. Go do something else. Think about what you are going to write next but deny yourself the action for an hour. It's like the 'takeaway' in sales techniques.
2. Go back to your synopsis and read what you intended. If you don't have a synopsis, maybe try writing one.
3. Write out the next two scenes, making sure you are making it almost impossible for your protagonist to achieve their goal.
4. Pretend you are the protag. Get inside her head. Then write from that angle. Not necessarily first person POV, just be her and then try writing.
5. Music the protag would listen to, stick a hat on your head for different characters,
6. Give yourself permission to write a terrible book. Don't worry about editing, choosing the best words, the most narrative descriptions. You are going to fix that in the coming months. Just write what comes to mind.
7. Don't read back what you wrote and don't backspace more than two sentences. Keep the bad stuff and just continue.
8. Have fun!

NaNoWriMo is to be credited for more than just getting those first time authors to write their novel. It helps writers like me drop all the expectations and just sit down to write. Isn't that what it's all about?

Kim Hornsby is the author of two full novels The Dream Jumper's Promise and Necessary Detour, two short stories based on THE BACHELOR and has two contemporary romances in the Seasons of Love Series. All are available on Amazon.

                                                   Find Kim at

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