Hey Brandonians. (I just made that up.)
It’s nigh on November, and to the writing/werd-nerd community, that means NaNoWriMo. For those unfamiliar with the phenomenon, NaNoWriMo is a web amalgamation for National Novel Writing Month, which is actually both a thing and an organization dedicated to promoting writing. I’ll let them tell you about it on their website, but for our purposes here, the idea is, you write a 50,000 word novel in the space of time between November 1st and November 30th.
I first heard about NaNoWriMo about five years ago. I foolishly signed up at the first chance I got and failed miserably. Think about it, 50,000 words divided by thirty days is 1,667 words per day. Now, of course, there may be days when you write more than that or less than that, but you must average 1,667 in order to hit the mark. I kept skipping days and saying I’d make up the words later, but then when later came, the task seemed way too daunting, and then… and then…
The thing that’s great about NaNoWriMo is that it’s unforgiving in its demands for discipline.
The problem I had with that first attempt at a novel is that I didn’t actually have a novel to write. I had a scene. I fleshed that scene out as best I could, but in the end, there just wasn’t a story to tell there. In the intervening years, I’ve had the excuse of working on my MA, so I’ve cheered others on in their NaNoWriMo attempts, but I did not participate myself. It just so happens, however, that I have now, as a result of that graduate work, three-fifths of a novel written, and a complete story to tell.
That leaves me with little excuse for this year. I must finish my novel. I need roughly 30,000 – 40,000 more words to finish my story. Therefore, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I commit to writing an average of at least 1,000 words per day on The Dragon Priests of Karnath from November 1st until November 30th. If I do so, then I should actually have a finished first draft by the end of the year.
For those of you wondering about ol’ Dingo – well, I have about half of his next story written, but he may have to take a back seat a bit longer while I finish up Dragon Priests.
It’s interesting, I started this novel thinking it would be fun to write a fantasy story. It’s turned out to be quite a different experience than I thought it would be. Worldbuilding, for example, is a necessary part of writing fantasy that I wasn’t quite prepared for. I like to write action, and I tend to get bogged down when I need to give a lot of exposition, so when I have to name every plant, develop and maintain a whole new dialect, and try to decide whether or not these characters know what a meter is, it feels much more like a grind to me than the sort of Earthbound fiction I’m used to writing. Because of that, I think at this point I prefer the magical realism of the Dingo Roy stories to the strange desert world of Karnath, but who knows, that may change when I get back to Karnath in a couple of days.
In any case, I’m excited about the idea getting Dragon Priests done this year because I don’t want to abandon it. Even if it’s not really the genre I ultimately decide to stick with, I still want to shop it and see if I can’t get the thing on shelves because I think it’s a story worth telling. I love Jellen and Karea, my brave protagonists, I’m invested in their plight, and I think a lot of other readers will be, too.
So there it is. I’m gonna write a thousand Dragon Priest words per day during November, and Balzedrad willing, I’ll be done soon. (I realize now that none of you have read any of Dragon Priests, so you don’t know Balzedrad yet, so, um… yeah. Awkward… Anyway, well, he’s a very powerful dragon that the people of Karnath worship. Now you know that much.)
Beyond that, I’m freelancing again after taking a couple of months off to focus on finding a “real job.” If you know of anyone who needs some stuff written, I’m for hire. Also, if you haven’t yet, please follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and the Tweets, and invite your friends to do the same.