Once again this year, I made the commitment to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). What's this madness you ask? For the sane people out there, NaNoWriMo is a free for all in which hundreds of thousands of writers commit to put 50k words into a new story during the month of November. Although I hit the magic number about a week ago (not surprisingly, I'm still waiting for the champagne and confetti), I kept on charging ahead. While technically I still have today to keep working on it (and I plan to, believe me), my word count is over 68k.
One of the rules of NaNoWriMo is that you can't go back and rewrite/edit/delete at any time during the month. When I first participated last year, this about killed me as I was infamous for going back and rewriting when something bothered me. But once I got past it and kept moving forward, I was able to finish my first novel in over a decade. Keep in mind, dear reader, that a story is not done by any means just because you've written 50,000 words. My first published book, What I've Done, was a product of last year's NaNoWriMo. I continued writing it for a month or two after NaNoWriMo was over. Next it was sent to my editor for ideas, then I engaged in some major rewrites. By the time the story was finished in March, the total word count was over 75,000.
But the great thing about NaNoWriMo if you're a full-time author is that it really gives you a boost on your next novel. The new story that I'm working on involving mind control (title still in progress) has just exploded out of my fingertips and taken on a life of its own. The tale begins with a girl named Kianna having strange things happen to her on her eighteenth birthday. It gets out of control to the point where she actually entertains the idea that there is such thing as a birthday fairy (as Kianna says in her own defense, "Like mind control is any more believable?"). I hope you will see this story come to live early spring of 2013.
To all the fans who have been razzing me about writing sequels, The Day Zombies Ruined My Perfectly Boring Life is up next and the sequel to Shymers will be one or two after that. I truly appreciate the great feedback and reviews I've been getting on these books and apologize for leaving you hanging with the giant cliffhangers! But be patient, my friends, and hopefully you'll be blown away by what happens next!
So what exactly is the prize for NaNoWriMo you ask? Nothing. Unless, of course, you count a whole world filled with shiny new characters for readers to enjoy and an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment. As a writer, I can't imagine anything better (well, other than maybe a movie deal or an around the world signing tour).