This is story about a story that was made possible by NaNoWriMo. This is a THANK YOU post for NaNoWriMo and the wonderful people behind it.
First, some background. For those of you who have followed me for a long time, you know that I started my writing journey when my first book (a murder mystery) was published a while ago (read story here). I have been fascinated by fiction for a LONG time. My first four books were fiction (murder mysteries, spy thrillers etc.)
There was always this lingering thought that I should write some fiction one day. As you can imagine, that one day would never come because there are many interesting projects going on in life. There is always an excuse to not start on something that you love.
So, when I heard of NaNoWriMo, I was intrigued. NaNoWriMo is a worldwide phenomenon where people take on a seemingly impossible task of writing a novel in 30 days in the month of November. The minimum number of words is 50,000 to be one of the winners. You can read more about how it works on the NaNoWriMo site. But the simple technique is to write at least 1,1667 words per day every single day. So, in other words, you have to spend just one hour every night and you can create a novel. It may not be the best work but it is something to start.
So what makes NaNoWriMo work?
Here are a few things to start with:
1. There is a clear start date (Nov 1) and a clear deadline (Nov 30)
2. There is a specific outcome (at least 50K words)
3. There is a method to the madness ( 1,667 words per day at least)
4. There is a support structure ( total of 162,000+ people total, close to 1000 people in south bay)
5. Write-ins (where writers come together to have writing sprints)
6. Mini-celebrations (halfway parties, dangerous writing nights etc.)
7. Thriving community
8. Plot Ninjas (where people pose challenges to include in your novel)
I can go on..but you get the point.
I took on the challenge and I am delighted to report that as of 19th november, my novel crossed 50,000 words.
Note: Click on the image above or here to see the latest wordcount.
I am not done with it yet but I would not have reached here without NaNoWriMo and the challenge.
Highlights of the journey in the last 19 days
1. I had read the following books in preparation:
2. Attended a 4 day program on storytelling by Robert McKee. It was simply one of the best programs I attended.
2. Requested two close friends (names to be disclosed soon) to help me with completing the project (polishing, editing etc.) once the book is complete. So I am covered to make this a good book.
3. Created my own plan (20 day plan rather than a 30 day plan) – this involved 10 hours of writing in the weekends and 2 hours of writing every weekday night. I didn’t have the time to work on it during the week days.
4. Purchased Scrivener to write my manuscript
5. Discussed my story idea with four friends to make sure that I was not (totally) crazy. Refined the story in my mind. Did not write a single word on paper (that is one of the rules)
During the 19 days
1. Things changed drastically during the 19 day period. I knew that things won’t go the way I had planned. I started exactly at 12.01am on November 1. I took a really big lead (completed more than 10,000 words in two days) at the start.
2. Things slipped multiple times but the early lead helped me to stick to the plan.
3. When things were almost slipping, I went to Write-In where I got back my motivation to write another five thousand words to get back into the plan.
4. Made a few new friends in-person and on Twitter and created a virtual support group.
5. Once I got past 40,000 words, there was no other option but to go all out last weekend to get to 50,000 words.
So, NaNoWriMo was what made it happen for me. My request to you is to think about your own project (it need not be writing a novel) and see if there is a support group and a community that you can participate and make that dream a reality NOW!!!