Off to NaNoWriMo

Off to NaNoWriMo

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Trick or treat! In keeping with the season, I’m facing some thrilling — and slightly scary — challenges over the next month.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to jump into National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, again this November. Why am I doing this? Partly for practice, partly for training, and partly to stay young. (As far as I can tell, most participants are a third to half my age; there’s also a Young Writers Program that’s used in classrooms. More power to them!)

I’m still a novice at fiction, although I’ve been doing my own form of creative writing for many years now. In my own young-adult days, when I was the age most NaNoWriMos appear to be, I published a couple of short stories and drafted a historical stage play about Harry Houdini. The play went through three rewrites, taking it from one to two acts, and it’s on my to-do list to do it one more time in hopes of actually getting it produced.

Striking a balance

First, though, I have my life’s work — literally — to pull into shape: I’m compiling and editing 25 years’ worth of weekly columns for the Republican-American. I’m selecting the best for a collection to benefit the newspaper’s Campership Fund. I have a little more than a year’s worth to go in my initial read-throughs and edits. After that, turnaround should be relatively quick and I hope to have something in print by spring.

That’s going to be put aside for a month or so, though, as I devote all my writing time to the NaNoWriMo competition. The goal is to complete a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. (The word count is supposedly from the estimated length of the shortest novel the founder could find on his bookshelf when they started back in 1999.) Many people spend the month before plotting and planning what they are going to write; I’ve spent it working out scenes and characters in my mind, though I’m apparently more of a seat-of-the-pants writer, or in the vernacular of the competition, a “pantser.”

I’ll try to pop in here when I can with updates on my progress. Meanwhile, for the fun of it I’ll be sharing some book reviews and installments of the first chapter my 2018 NaNoWriMo entry here during the month. Stay tuned!

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