By Elysabeth Eldering
National Novel Writing Month, or better known as NaNo, occurs in November. This is a time when everyone and anyone puts forth the effort to write a novel, or at least the beginnings of a full fledged novel. The goal of NaNo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days (about 1667 words a day). But 50,000 words isn't really a full novel. If you accomplish this goal, you may have about a novel that is 2/3 completed. You could actually write a complete novella in the 30 days but not a full-fledged novel.
I have participated in NaNo for several years now, mostly as a cheerleader and the "official word keeper" for our region but I did write a novella or young adult novel one year, although I didn't really start writing it until late in the month and it took me a couple of weeks into December to complete it. I hope to edit that story within the next few months, once my series is more stabilized and the state stories are just being plucked up by my illustrator for layout and all, and publish it.
So how does one go about finding ideas to write at the frenzied pace of 1667 words a day? Ideas are everywhere and as long as you have the burning desire to meet the challenge, you can accomplish this task with very few problems.
Some folks start planning several months ahead by outlining and developing characters and scenarios that they would like to see occur in their novel; some folks wait until the last minute to come up with the topic for their novel. Those who outline and plot and plan ahead of time seem to be more invested in their writing than those of us who write by-the-seat-of-our-pants. On the other hand, some very good writing has come from the "pantsers." So how do you know which is the way to go? Experiment.
I don't outline so much as I have a system for my stories. Since I do mostly short stories and there is no real plot in them, outlining wouldn't work for me. If I were to ever jump into doing a 75,000 word or more novel, I might try outlining some basic plot points. Or if the idea had been brewing for a while, I would probably do some generalized outlining. Until then, I will remain a "pantser" and am accepting of that.
If you have a couple of hours a day to spend writing, I challenge you to participate in NaNo. You can sign up at the NaNo website and take the challenge. See if you are an outliner or a pantser.
State of Wilderness, State of Quarries, State of Reservations, State of Successes (first four and in that order) are published already; State of Heights will be released within the next couple of weeks. E :)
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series
by Elysabeth Eldering
STATE OF WILDERNESS, Book 1 of 50 now available.
STATE OF QUARRIES, book 2 of 50 now available
STATE OF RESERVATIONS, book 3 of 50 now available
STATE OF SUCCESSES, book 4 of 50 now available
STATE OF HEIGHTS, coming October 2010
STATE OF NATURE, coming January 2011
STATE OF ACCELERATION, coming February 2011
STATE OF IMAGINATION, coming May 2011
WHERE WILL THE ADVENTURE TAKE YOU NEXT?
TRAIN OF CLUES, available August 2010
Member SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), Carolinas region
Member Sisters in Crime, Greenville Chapter