By Douglas Owen
For the last three years I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those not in the know). This amazing event started in the US, and sprinted around the world, infesting writers of all ages.
It was 2012, and I had finished my first novel (we won’t go into that at this point). After several false starts on the second one, I found myself lacking inspiration. Something needed to give, and it was not going to be the computer (well, it did, but only because it was old). Wondering how the next novel would be, I scoured the internet looking for that elusive spark. That is when I found NaNoWriMo.
The weather was cold, with grumbling clouds stretching across the horizon when I made my way into Durham for the meeting. People of all sizes, shapes and colours greeted me with a smile. After grabbing a tea (yes, tea) someone pulled out a chair and started to ask me what I was going to write. This was the two-week countdown and I had nothing.
The group swapped stories of last year’s glory and disappointments. Several of the writers wanted to know if I read romance, and without hesitation I shook my head. I admitted to being a multi-genre reader of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. When someone heard the name of my favourite author, Spider Robinson, they zeroed in on me, like a missile fired from a sub. I talked with her for half an hour, and bounced ideas. Then the book hit me square. Spear. Kids being trained to fight. Four books. Wrap the story line over four books and you are done! I started building the basic information for the whole story arc and book names.
The group seemed to notice I was not talking, and several glanced over at me. One said my muse had just hammered me with a sledge and she was jealous as hell. When I put down the pen, a dozen eyes focused on me and started to ask questions. A Spear in Flight now had an outline. They applauded, laughed, wished me luck and the meeting ended. I left with a plan for how to win NaNoWriMo.
In 2012 I wrote a 76,000 word manuscript. After rewrites and editing, the novel ended up at 74,000 odd words and was published through Science Fiction and Fantasy Publications in 2013. I would also comment that I found WCYR in 2012, and that is why I kept writing.
Now, in 2014, I started writing the third book of the Spear series, Slashed by a Spear Shaft, once the clock hit 12:00. This is what I’ve been doing every NaNoWriMo start, jump on the novel as soon as November 1st hits. The prologue is 1,740 words long, and today I look at trying to get at least half way through the first chapter, if not finishing it. The aim is approximately 3,000 words per chapter, and my target word count this book is 80,000.
There is a lot to write for this NaNoWriMo, so I think I’ll cook up some bacon and start hammering the keyboard after the fishing shows are over. Happy NaNoing!
Are you writing a novel for NaNoWriMo? Join the WCYR NaNo group on Facebook – we’re all in this together. You may also want to subscribe to the WCYR NaNo newsletter, which will bring motivation and inspiration right to your inbox.
About the author: Douglas Owen writes for Self Publisher! Magazine, and is an author of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Young Adult novels. He currently lives in Stouffville Ontario and is a proud member of the WCYR. You can find out more information on Doug and his writing by visiting his webpage at DAOWEN.CA or visiting his GoodReads profile.