Breaking Ground

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages! Gather around for wonders never seen before by man or beast! The things you will see here will boggle your mind and baffle your senses!

Now that I have your attention, let me tell you what is really happening here.

Last month I participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it is “affectionately” called (usually when they aren’t cursing the day they ever signed up).  The objective was to write a story of 50,000 words in one month. Not a really long novel, but long enough.

Now, if you are like me, you have been telling yourself for years that “some day I’m going to write a novel.” Well, NaNoWriMo gave me the excuse to actually do it. The other incentive I had was that a new friend of mine was participating, and I thought it would be cool to see if I could do it too.

Of course, I didn’t sign up until halfway through October, so I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. Those two weeks were probably worse for me than after I actually started writing. I wasn’t supposed to do any writing before November 1, but I could plan. So I planned. I decided on a basic plot device, figured out some main characters, decided on names, and started a basic outline of the story.

Then November 1 came and I started writing. I went to Starbucks for the first time for a kickoff meeting and met some other local writers. I got hooked on their Caramel Apple Spice and their low-fat Very Berry coffee cake. I even got a little writing done while I was there. The next few days were pretty hectic, trying to do some writing before work, on my breaks at work, and after work, either at home or at some other “write-in” location, like Barriques or Culvers. And slowly but surely my story took on a life of its own.

That’s right. Most of the planning I did in October was useless. Either I didn’t use it at all, or I needed something that I hadn’t thought of. My characters didn’t do what I told them to do, instead they told me what they were doing. This was a little bit frustrating at first, but then I decided it was probably better that way. You see, many published authors will tell you the same thing. They say that once you actually get to know your characters they take over and all you have to do is write their story.

In case you were wondering, I finished the story at about 50,200 words. Barely long enough for a “win”, and personally I think the story sucks. But the experience was worth it. It taught me first that I can write a novel. And second, I learned a lot about writing during that month. As a matter of fact, I actually finished the story in three weeks, so I started another one. I’m working on it now and I like it a lot better than my first effort. As a matter of fact, I should be working on it now, instead of writing this blog….

So here’s the point of this story. I’m finding out a lot about writing that I want to share with you. I’ll also share my experiences with editing once I start that phase off this project. And finally, if things go well, I will share a few things about publishing. I may not land a contract with Harlequin or Random House, but if nothing else I think I’ll give self-publishing a shot.

So now that we have broken ground on this project, I hope you will join me as this Author in Progress tries to complete a finished work. Wish me luck!

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Filed under About Me, The Writing Experience

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