Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wordcraft -- NaNoWriMo: Lest we forget November!

I did it: finally signed the pledge on NaNoWriMo’s site to edit and revise my manuscript from last November during 2015. It wasn’t that I hadn’t plugged stolidly away after recording my 18,300 words on a new novel. That’s less than the 50,000 words eager NaNoWriMo participants hope to log in a month, but, as I was pleasantly surprised to read, slightly above my Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas region’s average of 15,952 words per writer.

But when it came to promising to go further, I was overcome by a fit of whining¾ I have other projects! A potential agent rolling her eyes over why I haven’t responded to her request! Short stories to revise! Blog posts to write!

Sound familiar? Take a deep breath and click the “I promise!” button at
http://nanowrimo.org/now-what/contract/. Add your name to the thousands already there including, now, mine.

For anyone who’s just tuned in, or may be recovering from an excess of holiday cheer, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is the annual event that encourages writers to just write the danged story already, or at least attempt to put 50,000 words on pages. The word “national” in the name probably seemed grandiose when a few writers in San Francisco, California, gathered their friends in 1999. Now the organization’s spread worldwide.

As you can see from the statistics in the first paragraph, some of us fall short of the 50,000 word goal. But even 10,000 words or more provides a significant start on a new novel. Several members of my region even managed to sprint well past the 50,000-word mark.

But words alone don’t make a novel. That’s where editing and revision come in.

Luckily, the NaNoWriMo organization doesn’t leave its followers to twist in the wind for the remaining eleven months of each year. After a breathing space in December, January and February are devoted to whipping November’s words into shape. The shaping process officially starts this week with a webinar January 15 at 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time by Jason Hough and Susan Dennard, two authors who used their own NaNoWriMo drafts as the basis for successful series.

To attend the webinars, NaNoWriMo asks for a $60 donation to help fund creative writing projects worldwide.

Later this month, NaNoWriMo will host another webinar by The Book Doctors (aka Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry), authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published. Information will be forthcoming on the NaNoWriMo site for the date of The Book Doctors and for a February webinar by writing coach Brooke Warner.

On Twitter, agents and assistant of New Leaf Literary will talk about submissions, query letters and more at #NaNoNewLeaf February 19 at 1 p.m. PST.

In the meantime, we can all dig into NaNoWriMo’s blog posts for advice and encouragement, to find online writing groups and for chat forums on subjects such as “Life After NaNoWriMo“ and “Novel Draft Aftercare,” as well as events from our local regions.

(Next Tuesday -- If it’s January, it’s time for a fresh round of literary festivals and conventions)

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