The Chaos of NaNo

So, today is the very first day of NaNo (, the National Novel Writing Month started in the Bay Area by a group writers looking for a push and which has become a global phenomenon.

I discovered NaNo in 2002, too late to join in the insanity, but every year since, willing or not, I’ve ended up doing NaNo.

That “willing or not” is the key for me. I can decide not to do it, but come the first, I’ll drag out an outline and off I go. Or if I have no idea, one will show up mid-October with a bullwhip in its hand.

Each year has its own form of chaos, as if trying to write 50,000 words in a month isn’t enough.

This year, though, I find myself facing dual challenges.

I have been a Harlequin reader since I was in my teens, and one of the books that sticks the strongest in my memory from that period is a Harlequin (sadly it’s the story not the author or title that stuck). So, when Harlequin announced a week long intensive for training interested authors (, I couldn’t help but look through my romance ideas to see if any wanted to step up and take the lead.

This is ignoring the YA Steampunk novel I’d been planning to write and had all but completed an outline for…or so I thought.

Sure enough, an idea that reached enough solidity for me to jot it down in 2003 started dancing up and down saying pick me, pick me.

That was Saturday…two days ago.

To complicate matters, I’ve had a bit of a frazzled year with the focus so intensely on novel edits that I never quite managed to finish my March novel, which now stands somewhere between 7500 and 5000 words to the end (unless I’ve miscalculated).

Then I discovered that almost complete outline is really a list of out of order scenes, some of which have been superseded by later scenes that are stronger.

This is the first day of NaNo, a challenge that, to reach the minimum, requires 1667 words on a new novel project a day. And I still am not quite sure what I’m doing.

On the other hand, I’m 1500 words into the romance idea (and in one more scene I’ll be writing without a net excepting some jotted notes and a vague sense of the story). My plan, if it can be called that, is to get my 1667 words on Psychic Gran (which believe it or not is a contemporary romance) then get some more words on Dry Boiled (the March novel), and once I finish Dry Boiled, I may double time with the YA Steampunk if I can get the outline in order…just for the fun of it and to feel confident in having an outline for something.

This is what NaNo brings out in me. Pure chaos.

So, do you NaNo? If yes, is it as chaotic for you as it seems to be for me? If no, what are your plans for November when everyone else (remember global phenomena ;)) is nose down, butt in chair, hands on keyboard?

This entry was posted in Challenges, Dry Boiled, NaNoWriMo, Novels, Psychic Gran, Writing Process. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Chaos of NaNo

  1. Michele says:

    Ha! Chaos. That’s a good word to describe what you do. Though it seems a bit calm after reading through your blog post. 😉 I had still not fully committed, even after the kick-off meet up, to do this thing again. Even as late as last night, I was still waffling. But, as someone once said, waffles are good. I took the plunge this morning sometime and hacked through 2058 words of who-knows-what. I sure don’t. There is a person writing about something that is heading somewhere. At least, that is my ultimate hope. Other than that, I scratch my head and wonder why the hell I am even bothering, since I have all previous efforts piled up on one of the hard drives and various flashy things sitting around in various stages of non-edit demanding some attention. I admire your dedication. You, in fact, are one of my inspirations.


    • MarFisk says:

      You’re ahead of me :). I’m having real issues with the book being unstructured. I both know too much to go wild and wasteful and too little to go easy.

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