NaNoWriMo 2023

It’s Halloween and most people are thinking about costumes and candy, but I’m thinking about tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo – or shortened even further to “NaNo”, or even “nano” if you’re lazy –  is short for National Novel Writing Month. It has been in existence since 1999 and I became aware of it in 2003, but I didn’t start participating until 2009. According to their site I have been a member since 9\9\09. Anyone into numerology who can tell me give me some BS answer as to what such a number might mean? 😉 I’m assuming it means I’ll develop blue polka dots on my face 68 days after my 57th birthday, but my calculations may be off. Especially since I pulled that out of my butt.

NaNo is sometimes called a contest but it is more accurately described as a challenge. You challenge yourself to write at least fifty thousand words during the thirty days of November. Aside from the times when the story just fizzled out, I haven’t had any trouble with the word count. I usually end up with 50k (which everyone calls winning, because it is a win!!) by November 25th. And then I usually finish the story in the first few days of December.

I’ve participated every year since then. I’ve written, therefore, fourteen first drafts. Eight of them turned into books, three of which aren’t yet published (though hopefully I’ll get two of them pushed out the door early next year). Twice I took a second run at a story, which helped once and didn’t help the other time.

I really do like my own writing. I’m not saying I’m excellent at it, just that I like to read my own stuff. Both the writing and the story are good for me, once I iron out the wrinkles. Sometimes when I’m writing I’ll find myself on the edge of sleep at bedtime wanting to know what happens next in a story I’m currently writing. Gotta write it first, Kat!

This years book is called either Uncalled or The Uncalled. I haven’t decided. In my fantasy world, a threat is rising and the ‘new’ god isn’t around to help address it, so without even knowing they were doing it much less why, the old gods of the place start calling people to them. One that’s called knows of the threat and seeks out the goddess of the country she lives in so some way to save everyone from the threat can be found. That’s not a great summary, but until I’ve written it I can’t summarize it very well!

The idea started to come to me last spring. Even though I had nothing more than a partial idea of “what if” (the basic premise of speculative fiction, primarily fantasy and science-fiction, but applies in a different way to all stories) I was excited by the idea. And I thought, oh, I have months and months; I can just let the story come to me! But it didn’t happen. I got a few glimpses, but no thunderbolts. November came closer and closer. I was nearly panicking when October 1st came around and I only had a handful of scattered notes. I only knew how the story started and what the challenge to my characters was. But today I have ten pages of outline, all the way to the end of the story, and I feel ready. I hope it’s good!

Happy NaNo, everybody!!

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