Guest Author: George Sirois on NaNoWriMo

GeorgeSirois

NaNoWriMo: The Dreaded Week 2

Even though this period of time has already come and gone, I’d like to talk about a very critical point in any NaNoWriMo challenge that Sharon apparently flew past: the Dreaded Week 2. Now, for those of you who have yet to take this challenge in any of its forms – in November for NaNoWriMo or June for the Southern Cross Novel Challenge or, frankly, whenever you want – the hurdles are always the same.

When I took up the challenge in June of 2008, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to tell the story of one of my favorite characters that I had ever come up, Excelsior. I made the necessary adjustments to his back story, I made the man who would become this great character a teenager rather than an adult – which was how he started back in 1992 – and I had a basic template of a story in mind. The beginning and the end were all set; it was just a matter of how I would get there.

The first week was a blast. I got to write all these really cool scenes that introduced the main character and some of the supporting characters, and I got to take the first steps that set the plot in motion. After a week, I had finished just about four chapters, I was on pace to make 50,000 words before the end of the month, everything was in great shape.

And then, as Week 2 started, I realized I had hit the wall. I had no more of the plot to unearth; now I had to make my characters DO something. Of course I shouldn’t have feared much since this is all about just writing the first draft, and first drafts are supposed to be crap. After all, writing is re-writing. But I still wanted this story’s big step forward to be a meaningful one. Hours passed and I kept asking myself, what happens next? My enthusiasm was replaced by anxiety and I began wondering if I had what it took to finish this monumental challenge.

Suddenly, the moment of inspiration struck! Kind of.

Instead of sticking with this very limited group (Matthew, his uncle and this older mentor-type of man – who would later become a woman when I realized I didn’t have any major female characters), I decided to go back to the other planet that I had written about in an earlier chapter and introduce some more characters. They had to be transported to Earth to assist the mentor with Matthew’s training, and once I made that decision, I felt the previously gummed-up gears in my head start to turn again. It felt great shaking off this problem and regaining the momentum that I was in danger of losing.

After that scene ended, I went back to my original characters and nothing felt forced anymore. From then on, much to my relief, I was having fun writing again. The second week came and went, and every single day, I was keeping up with my word count. This continued all the way through June of 2008, until I wrote “The End” on the manuscript at 11:35pm on June 30. My first draft was 58,000 words long.

Of course, this was only the first step in a very long journey with “Excelsior,” but it was a journey that now has a happy ending. I self-published this book in July of 2010, then pulled it off the market when it was accepted by Rocking Horse Publishing, a small press from St. Louis, MO. I took the opportunity to give it another edit (its fifth edit, if you count the rewrites from 2008-2010 and another edit in early 2012) and now I couldn’t be happier. But all of this wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t get over the stopping point during Week 2 of the first draft.

So I’d like to hear from all of you. Are you ahead or behind on your word count? Is there something that’s in your way? How are you planning to get around it? Share your issues here. Maybe someone will have the answer you need…

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-PAXP-deijE

NaNoWriMo: The stretch

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I know I have been quiet. NaNo has kept me busy like it does every year that I work on the frenzy. I been fortunate that the story has been writing itself, literally. There is a lot to be said about writing on what you know.

In my story I picked a region that I am familiar with and a culture as well. You don’t have to know everything in your book when you start, all you need is a thought or idea to carry it through. If you infuse a topic that you are familiar in all one has to do is wrap words around that thought. Yes I am making it sound easy. That isn’t what I am saying. By writing on something you know or are familiar with, you are making it easier to write.

This is what I have embraced in the book:

-My French heritage

-Northern Maine living

-Christian

-Persecution

You can write a lot when you use any of those topics let alone all of them like I have done in my book, “Lost Faith” that is being written for NaNoWriMo 2013. I already know when the 50k words are done, the book will be not complete. I will need to keep on going to make things go full circle. But I do like where it is going. That’s another thing. If you enjoy the book you are writing it is not work not in the sense people might think it.

My word count as of today gets me 11k shy of my 50k word count. I will take a few days off when I reach it to give my hands, neck and shoulders a break from it all. But after that will add to it.

I do enjoy NaNoWriMo where my sole goal is to win and worry about the book later. But when you are enjoying the book as it develops that is just icing on the cake.

NaNoWriMo: I caved

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I caved. I caved caved caved. I just wrote a post last week how I was not going to do NaNoWriMo 2013. On Friday I opened up a word document so I could jot down some ideas for a book. I ended up with over 3k words by the end of the day. The fever had reached me subconsciously. I scold and reminded myself why I was not doing this frenzy. I don’t have time. I need to work on the book that just got released. My doctors will not be happy.

But the fever that started within me in 2011 has never left. The fire of writing a book in November each month still lives. My stubbornness with this is to win. To do anything else is not an option for me. They may not be 60k great words but there will be 50k words before November is out. That is the plan.

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This is how I started my NaNoWriMo book for 2013:

The devastation came silently. No one knew it was coming until it was too late. The quiet killer the perfect weapon. No one had a chance.

War had been rampant in the Middle East for years. But the US had always been able to keep it at bay from their native shores for the most part. But there were some things they couldn’t stop. The virus that coursed through the veins of millions of Americans. It started with the young, the elderly and the weak.

But that was not enough. More was to come. No one could prepare for what was next.

I wrote this on my Facebook page and my peeps welcomed me into the collective, knowing that this was bound to happen. Not one was really shocked. People have given me some good comments to the above opening. I like it. As of Monday night I was at a little over 14k words.

Stay tune. Hopefully this is not a foolish dream to complete and win NaNoWriMo for 2013.