Pledge Your Words – NANOWRIMO 2011

3 Nov

When I first heard of National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in 2008, I was living in the frigid north of Japan’s Honshu island. While I had scores of picture books under my belt I had yet to attempt a novel. Having read less than 1 novel a year probably accounted for my lack of confidence to try. Regardless, I decided to give it a try. Instead of writing a novel, I opted for a collection of anecdotes and folk tales entitled the “Book of Feste” depicting events and characters in a distant fantasy realm. And you know what? After spending many an early morning, late night, and dizzying train ride…I won! As November said goodbye, I said hello to over a hundred pages of my original work. While it’s now collecting dust, when ready I’ll breathe new life into it.

With 30 days in November and 50,000 words to pen, your daily total should average 1,667 words. It’s not impossible, but sacrifices will have to be made. If anything use it as an excuse to dodge your mother-in-law’s cooking, or save some funds while staying in for a change. The most important thing to remember is that the goal is to simply write. Your finished product will be anything but finished. It’s merely a rough draft. So pour whatever dribble you want on the page. The more you write, the easier it will be to identify what’s not working while still leaving plenty to fill up a book.

I must have forgotten the joy I felt on December 1st as I lazily neglected to participate in 2009 and 2010. Well this year, it’s a different story. I’ve opted to give NANOWRIMO another run. This year I won’t be returning to “Feste,” instead I’ll be venturing into novel country, well at least in the eyes of children. I can’t say I’ll ever want to be a novelist for adults. My imagination is best suited for like-minded readers; children. With a few projects begging to be penned, I feel most comfortable with giving “Monster Maze” (working title) a shot. This middle-grade work is Olivia meets Aaahh!!! Real Monsters in a world that Roald Dahl would chuckle at.

Dahlicious Reads

To prepare for the task I’ve entrusted the services of my local library and borrowed a hearty helping of texts. I robbed the place of every Dahl text on the shelf. While this is only a beginning towards a novel, I don’t want my first work to be told in Dahl’s voice, as many beginner writers often emulate their favorite authors too well. Roald Dahl may not be around to pitch new stories, but he has enough proven sellers in print to satisfy publishers. Consequently, I scoured the shelves in search of chapter books which matched the style, humor, and tone I’m intending “Monster Maze” to embody. But having not read as many books as I should, I had to do something we’re told not too… I judged books by their cover. Boy did this work out well! I ended up finding several female heroine texts in addition to a variety of bizarre yet playful creative works. When writer’s block turns the ink into concrete, I’ll immerse my mind into the pages of these works hoping to find a better way to transfer the story in my mind into a seamless parade of words.

Matching Mood Books

NANOWRIMO also features a useful networking opportunity as you’ll be placed into a specific region with each of these holding various events and write-ins to remind you that this daunting task is not yours alone to bear. I’m already looking forward to attending some of Buffalo’s write-ins scheduled for Monday and Wednesday at various coffee shops.

For those of you who ever told someone, “I’m thinking about writing a novel someday,” you’ll always be “thinking” unless you try. November is the time to try. At the end of the month when you’re choking on turkey flesh, you’ll be thankful you did. “Hey did I mention I started writing that novel.” This can be you, so what are you waiting for, sign-up at, and start writing your novel….NOW!

Happy novel writing imaginators!

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