Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo 2016, a 50,000 word writing challenge, and I’m feeling extensive déjà vu. As I said in my first 2015 post, I’m once again starting on a sequel with the previous book unedited beyond the first and one other scene. I have no outline. I don’t even have a workable synopsis blurb, though if I put one together and posted it on the NaNo board it would have too many spoilers regardless.
NaNo is a tradition for me at this point, after some 13 years. It’s part of what November is as much as Thanksgiving and the beginnings of winter. I’ve done the whole gamut of approaches from extensive outlining beforehand to running with an idea I had the last week of October.
This year, I have a general idea of where I am in the story, both in the arc of the second volume and in the overall arc of the series. I have a list of characters who may or may not appear/reappear in this book, and I have some idea of two scenes that will happen in the book, though I just realized the second of the two will cause a bit of a continuity issue with the third volume because it gives something away. On the other hand, that thing offers teasers for how it came about, so it may work out beautifully as a transition back into the POV of Sam and Nat.
And now I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, a sign I really needed to figure all this out before the first of November.
November is about writing, and if you read my newsletter, you will be aware that I have yet to finish Isabella because I got caught up in events, family stuff, and editing.
I am not ready to start writing the currently titled Traps and Treachery as of yet. While I may end up pantsing it (writing without an outline), I still need to re-read Steam and Shadows to do either option. Last year, I started late for this reason, but this year I’m trying something different. I’m rebelling…maybe.
While I read book 5 of The Steamship Chronicles and set up book 6 for NaNo, I have decided to spend the mornings writing Isabella. Whether I finish it before starting my true NaNo or not, it should get me in the habit of writing again while also advancing that manuscript. So far so good. I had to reread 4 scenes to get back into the story, about 4500-6000 words, but I’ve already added over 1000 words this morning.
The rebellion comes in if I fail to get 50,000 words on book 6 before December 1st. There is a not-so-secret group within the NaNo crowd who focus on getting the words rather than finishing one specific project. This may mean writing on multiple works, doing a type of project that falls outside of the NaNo definitions, or finishing an existing work rather than starting something new. In my case, I still hope to finish a first draft of book 6 (expected length between 50k and 60k), but if I don’t, I’ll be counting these Isabella words toward my total.
Progress is progress, ultimately, and words are words. I plan to get my 50k one way or another.
How about you? Are you participating in NaNo this year? If so, are you all ready and raring to go, or scrambling to get your ducks in order as I am?
For those of you who do not use November for a writing challenge, please be patient with the rest of us. NaNo provokes signs of distraction, conversations with people who aren’t there, and “eureka”s at the oddest moments, but it’s a grand meeting of creative minds. If we could see the world’s creativity like an aurora borealis, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover the colors and intensity much stronger in November each year. Whether you write or not, feel free to enjoy the flood of creative energy and jump in if you’re comfortable. I’m sure there’s a NaNoer nearby who would appreciate a bouncing board willing to listen to whatever tangle is damming up the flow of words at that very moment.
Wordsmiths and Those Who Love Them Unite!
P.S. I will not be making daily posts, but hope to provide updates several times throughout the month. I’m sure I’ll be thrilled to announce when I’m starting into book 6…as eager as I’ll be to state Isabella’s first draft is complete.