My daughter, Elizabeth Inglee-Richards, has challenged me to a writing contest starting today and ending the last day of February. She has participated in Nanowrimo several times, but I have not. That's National Novel Writing Month, run every November. It encourages writers to get butt in chair and write. There are inspirational tips, lots of support, even people not participating cheer you on. It is a great way to come up with a first draft. I think you get a tee-shirt if you actually make the goal. You are allowed to do all the prep work first, outline if that's the way you go, develop your characters, do your research. I've done all that, so I am ready to get started. I guess this would be Fanowrimo or Family Novel Writing Month.
November is a tough month for her to write consistently. Trade shows take a huge amount of time. Pack up a store's worth of stuff, drive 500 miles, set it all up, show off for three days and then reverse the process and still get 50,000 words written. As for me, I've never gone for quantity. So this will be new for me.
I will be writing my short story from beginning to end then going back to my novel in process. At this point Death on the Delaware reads like a very long short story. No surprise since short stories are what I write. It is very sparse. I'm used to cutting out every word that doesn't forward the plot. Reading DonD it is like traveling in the desert with no oasis. That's great for a short story, but not so good for a novel.
I am going to start over from word one. No rewrites of previous drafts, just chug ahead, and see what I come up with.
One of the skills I practiced when I wrote my first novel was turning off my internal editor. The little voice in my head objected to every word I wrote. At the time I was writing longhand. I didn't have a lap top and I was traveling by train a lot. The process of getting the words on the paper is slower when you are writing long hand, so the little voice had lots of time to nag. On the other hand it is harder to delete longhand than work produced on a computer. I did finally get to the point where I could ignore the voice, but it never went away.
By the time I found Nano, I had already dealt with my internal editor. I had written three novels, and a bunch of short stories. I had been published. I didn't need to push the words out.
Much to my surprise I am pretty psyched about the whole process. Can’t wait to start.