In November, 2017 I joined NaNoWriMo for the first time. What is NaNoWriMo? It is National Novel Writing Month, a non-profit on-line organization and community challenging individuals to pick up a pen and write. Write 50,000 words in November.
With the drive to write a book, I signed up and shouted to the world (of NaNoWriMo) that I was writing a middle grade book. I decided on middle grade because I wanted to write a book for my daughter. She was in middle grade (Year 6, Grade 5) at the time and there weren’t a lot of books she could connect with. My partner’s career has us moving a lot, (she had now moved countries eight times in her thirteen years), so I wanted to write for her.
For those who do not know my professional background, the predominant long form writing I have completed was standard operating procedures (SOP). That’s right, my careers and education engineered a concise, to the point, and not at all engaging writing style. This did not work. Worse, for me with a scientific background, I had no SOPs to follow, so I was at a loss at how to write. As I usually do when learning something new, I started by reading books on the subject and then decided to take a course. The course turned into a Creative Writing Certificate Program. And from that, I created my own Writing Road Map:
Behold, my writing road map.
What it shows me, is that I still have a long way to go. But that is why writing is a journey. There is always more to explore, to learn, to try. And I am still at the beginning of mine.
My first NaNoWriMo was a success. I completed the first draft of a manuscript. It was (and still is) messy with mixing of first person and third person narrative, and plot holes, but I wrote it. One day it will be edited and given to my daughter. Passion projects aren’t always for public consumption, at least mine isn’t.
I have now participated in nine NaNoWriMo events. Between them, I have written the first draft of five books; an urban fantasy trilogy, an urban fantasy adventure book, and the middle grade book, and so far, have edited two of them. The writing is coming easier to me but the editing is still a trip down a thorny path of misdirections and cliffs. Through the frustration I have learned to appreciate more the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the books I enjoy. And they remind me the path is hard, but I only need to take one step at a time to travel it. This blog is one of those steps. To share what is bringing excitement to my life, exploring life, exploring books.
This November I will complete a novella to prequel the urban fantasy trilogy I have written. The planning process needs to begin now, as I am a writer who needs a map, a means to see my what through the end of the story. This summer I was fortunate to be one of the readers who checked for typos in the Plot Development Step by Step book by Jesper Schmidt and Autumn M. Birt. I will be using it to develop and outline my story and sharing the results here.
Starting today, this is the book mapping out my writing journey
My characters already exist from the trilogy, but I will use this opportunity to round them out more and get to know them better. Character development is the first pillar in the book, so it will be the first part of story development I share next week. Hope to see you there!