On Writing and Winning NaNoWriMo 2012

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It’s Sun­day morn­ing on the first of Decem­ber and I’m hun­gover.  It may be because of my intro­duc­tion to Amer­i­can Hon­ey whiskey (damn that stuff goes down smooth), but I’m cer­tain that it has more to do with the fin­ish­ing of Nation­al Nov­el Writ­ing Month.  There is some­thing about writ­ing 50,000 words in a month that melts my brain.  My last thou­sand words are writ­ten in some­thing that looks like tongues.

Despite the men­tal anguish, I look for­ward to Novem­ber.  The annu­al event forces me to sit down and actu­al­ly ded­i­cate myself to writ­ing a good chunk of a nov­el. At the end of the month I have some­thing vague­ly resem­bling a man­u­script that I can spend the next year shap­ing up.  Some­thing that just may one day see the light of a Kin­dle.

The First Wife is my fourth NaNoW­riMo win.  My first 2009 project stills sits at 50,000 semi-coher­ent words. My 2010 work Par­adise Earth is near­ing pub­li­ca­tion on Decem­ber 21, 2012. (Just in time for the end of the world.)  Last year’s Hap­pi­ness: How to Find It is cur­rent­ly being pub­lished as a free online ser­i­al by Curios­i­ty Quills Press.

I recent­ly learned a great mot­to from Tyler at Real Social Dynam­ics: you have to give your­self to the art before the art gives some­thing back to you.  It’s true with a lot of things in life and very true with NaNoW­riMo.  Some­times when I sat down to write I was com­plete­ly lost and blocked.  But, because I had a goal, I forced myself through writ­ing real­ly, real­ly bad­ly.   I swear my eight year old neighbor’s stuff looks like Hem­ing­way in com­par­i­son.   How­ev­er there were moments where the muse decid­ed to pull her skank ass out of bed and vis­it me. At those times the words just flowed and mag­ic hap­pened and oh my god it’s good.

Some­thing else hap­pened: I start­ed out to write a mur­der sto­ry, but end­ed upnot killing any­one. I fell in love with my lead­ing ladies.  I put them through hell, because I’m a real bas­tard that way, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trig­ger. Not yet.

One of the things that I love about writ­ing is how these char­ac­ters come alive on the page.  Writ­ing is an act of court­ing.  When I sit down with them, I leave learn­ing just a lit­tle bit more about their hopes, dreams, desires, and fears.   Some­times I won­der if these peo­ple actu­al­ly exist as souls float­ing out there in the ether.

By my esti­mate, I’m about halfway through the sto­ry.  I’m real­ly excit­ed to see what hap­pens to these char­ac­ters.  While I gen­er­al­ly start with an end­ing in mind, the nov­el often charts its own course.

As thrilled as I am for my own win, I’m even more excit­ed that my friend Allie won for the first time.  Ever since we’ve met I’ve watched her scrib­bling notes and sto­ries in stacks of note­books.  To see her bring it all togeth­er was awe­some.  Anoth­er inspi­ra­tion for me is Sean, who has served as NaNoW­riMo munic­i­pal liai­son to South­ern Illi­nois for the last few years.  Two years now I’ve watched him come from way behind, writ­ing sev­er­al thou­sand words in the last week to reach the fin­ish line.  (He also fol­lowed up by lit­er­al­ly cross­ing the fin­ish line today with his first 5k run.)  Final­ly, I have to say some­thing about Kay­la.  She is a writ­ing, machine hav­ing fin­ished a few man­u­scripts already.  The crazy thing is that she isn’t even out of high school — talk about a head start.  She man­aged to get 40,000 words despite some per­son­al set­backs last month.

So that’s a wrap for Nation­al Nov­el Writ­ing Month 2012.  I’ll take a cou­ple of days off to recharge and then get back at it.  I’m work­ing on three com­ic book projects and I need to fin­ish the next install­ment of the Par­adise Earth series.

¶ Despatched on Saturday, December 1st, 2012 at 4:32 pm and sorted in Writing. ¶ { ReTweet }

3 Responses

doordirt4creationsDecember 3rd, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Thank you, Antho­ny, for writ­ing down the feel­ings i have. and yes, it is true. i dont know why many more dont get to see their char­ac­ters just fly off on their own… which is the MOST excit­ing aspect of writ­ing.. for me.
But hey! It’s words, and you got it done! Very well done, friend.

Hannah KincadeDecember 26th, 2012 at 6:45 am

I did not win this year. Though I was sim­ply try­ing to add words and fin­ish a cur­rent project. I didn’t do that either. But I added a good 30k to my cur­rent WIP and any progress is for­ward progress in my book. Pun intend­ed.

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