Monday, June 27, 2011

My Novel Arrived Today

Yes, that's right. My novel.

Rubbing my face against it, like a cat, so everyone knows it's mine.

- Last September I had a crazy dream about parallel universes.
- Last November 1st, I started my second ever NaNoWriMo journey.
- November 30th, The novel was finished with 67,409 words.
- Around March, my cousin told me he wanted to start a website where people could read books for free, so I finally had some incentive to read over this thing and edit it.
- From April - June, Billy and I coordinated to edit this.
- Then, about a week ago, I sent everything in to CreateSpace to get it published.
- Today, my self-published copy showed up at my door.

What the hell is NaNoWriMo, and what is the point?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place annually between November 1st - 30th, and roughly 118,000+ people all around the world write a 50,000 word novel in a month. The point is to have a rough draft of a novel, for everyone who has said "I wanna write a novel" but has never had the discipline to do so.

Are there winners? Are there prizes?

Everyone who hits the 50,000 word mark is a 'winner', and the prize is a certificate to print off and hang up on your fridge, as well as a code to use on CreateSpace for a free copy of your novel, and the ability to tell everyone that you have written a novel. What more could you want?

Why is NaNoWriMo one of the best things ever?

Not last year, but the year before, my boyfriend broke up with me after we'd been dating for just under a year. I was pretty upset, and found myself doing just about everything I could. I was taking up new hobbies, buying new animals, reading more, writing more, painting more, even took up a Kung Fu class to kill some time. He broke up with me in September, and by November I was over it, but I had still vowed to participate in NaNoWriMo. and I figured it would be fun to try it out.

November of 2009 was hard. A lot of awful things happened, but worst of all was witnessing the death of a resident at the home where I was a caregiver. I was so lucky to have NaNoWriMo, because every awful thing that happened to me that month was so easily expressed through my writing, and I had to express myself, because I had to meet my word goal. There were times I found myself crying in front of my computer, because I just couldn't write anymore, I had run out of ideas, and patience, and ability to think clearly.

I actually gave up for 5 days. I stopped writing, racked up an 11,000 word deficit, and only after that did I vow to finish the novel. I did it. It wasn't easy, but I finished with 50,003 words. I felt invincible, like I could do absolutely anything. It was through writing that I was able to learn a lot about myself that I didn't know before, and how to deal with the passing of Pauline.

It's astonishing what I learned, and how much of yourself really goes into a book. Everyone was a part of me, everything mimicked something that had happened to me in the past. Was I still hung up on these things? Am I really that dark? I opened up more, I felt more, I paid more attention. I had changed because of this novel, because of one month!

How come you barely finished your 1st novel, and your 2nd novel had an extra 14,000 words, and you never had any breakdowns?

Just like with anything else, you get better with practice. I was inefficient at writing outlines the first time around. Not to mention, I was 'scared" I would have 'too much', didn't know how to write characters or sub I learned from my conglomerate of mistakes, and fixed them the 2nd time through. I still had some very minor issues last year, and I intend to learn from those as well. It will be the same for you, I promise. Just stick through it the 1st year and it will get better and better every year.

Why everyone should write a novel:

Every year I try to recruit friends to do NaNoWriMo with me, and I never succeed. I try to tell people how great it is, how fun it is, but for some reason, people don't think sitting in front of a computer monitor every night to write 1,667 words is fun. I've tried every angle, but really, it's just something you have to experience. That moment when you can't stop laughing because a character of yours called their friend's girlfriend a whore in a clever, and subtle way. That moment when you cry because you just killed off a sweet old man. The moment you smile, because it's November 29th, and you finally get to write that scene where he gets the girl. It may sound stupid, but it's your world. It's a place you have made, and everything lives and dies by you and your rules. And why wouldn't you want to do that for a month out of the year?

Can I add you as a friend on the NaNo site?

Of course, my screenname is CaffeinatedTarantula. I'm looking for more people to cheer on, and who will cheer me on.

You will be hearing more about NaNoWriMo as we inch closer to November, but now is a good time to start thinking about ideas if you're going to do it :)

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