Something wicked this way comes, my friends, a masterly challenge that will test the nerve and sinew of even the most accomplished of authors. That is right, the great word race is set to begin: Nano is well on its way, November 1st will ring in the beginnings of a daring adventure made special because in this solitary world of writing, we shall embark together. And yet, this trek is not for the faint of heart, there are plans to be plotted (or plots to be panned?), characters to be drawn, worlds to create; after all, even the great Gandalf had to prepare his wayward band of adventurers before they set their plodding feet to the trail.
For those of you who are wondering what the heck I am talking about, Nano (or NaNoWriMo) stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is a daring adventure that takes place the entire month of November. The goal: to write 50,000 words by the time the clock strikes midnight on the last day (and some years you are working right up to that point). You choose your own project; anything that your heart could desire. You track your own progress throughout the month, only verifying when you finally submit your work for a ‘win.’ If you are interested, go to http://www.nanowrimo.org to get more information or join us on this lovely quest. I promise, you wont be disappointed.
It seems that this year some new goodies will be awaiting us! The one I am most excited for? A brand new word-sprint tool! Considering that is one of my favorite ways to pile on my numbers, I am very excited to be trying this one out instead of timing myself with my phone. As usual, the message boards will still be up and running, and in most areas the local events will be kicking off. I’m still trying to work up the courage to go to one, but alas, it has not happened yet. I know I would be happy once I went, but it is terrifying when I don’t know a single person. I’m not exactly a social butterfly, so this could be an eventful adventure.
At this stage of the game I am typically pretty anxious to pick my project and get it registered. The sooner I do that, the sooner I can dive into my plotting (and delve into the slightly distracting world of the Nano message boards, a favorite way to lose myself when I need a break from the project itself). I am normally a big fan of starting a fresh project for Nano- because honestly, there is nothing better than the promise of a blank page at the beginning of a story, nothing can match the excitement of the unknown. And yet this time around, I think I am going to break my own rules. The past month I have been working on editing old projects and organizing my ideas and snippets for new ones. October is going to be much of the same. So I figured- while I am enmeshed in this world of polishing my words to make them truly shine- why don’t I follow that thread and pick up some older projects that were abandoned partway through? There is nothing more depressing than an unfinished story, broken promises just littering the pages, forever held in a state of suspended animation. They were good ideas that, for one reason or another, I got distracted from. And so this November is going to be the month of the Untold Ending, the Unfinished Story will finally find solace in it’s conclusion. And I will feel better knowing that I am one stop closer with them.
The main project will be my Vampire story that I was working on last Camp Nano- it seemed fitting, considering my prep month will be falling during the Halloween season. I love the story idea, but I changed a few key plot points halfway through the project- forcing me to change a lot of the beginning and re-frame the rest of the story. It was a necessary change, one I am happy that I made- but it put me behind. So now, it will be time to finish it. And, the best part- after all of the changes that I decided to make, I still have a ton of prepping to do through October.
So here’s to late-night writing with nothing but a bright laptop screen and a hot cup of spiced cider to keep you company. Here’s to long days at the office with a notepad off to the side so I can write in my spare moments. Here’s to message board bonding over our favorite writerly memes and long discussions about the inner psyche of the best villains, the inside jokes that only a fellow narrator will understand. Here’s to blank pages and common ground. Here’s to telling the stories my friend, to finally giving a voice to the thoughts that have been dancing through your dreams and distracting your from your daily life. It is going to be one beautiful trek, my friends.