And that’s a NaNo!

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More words to follow once the trauma of 50K in 29 days has worn off.

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From the mouths of babes

Because I’m giving the whole NaNo thing a serious effort this year, I’ve wrestled my introverted hide over to the coffee shop at the end of the block for tonight’s scheduled write-in.

This is the face of an author plotting mischief against her characters. (It's also the face of a person using Instagram filters to hide her lingering disfigurations from last month's tumble.)

This is the face of an author plotting mischief against her characters. (It’s also the face of a person using Instagram filters to hide her lingering disfigurations from last month’s tumble.)

There are three young people sitting at the table next to mine. One of them is trying to draw while the other two keep asking him questions.

“What do you like to draw?” one of the girls said, peering over his sketchpad.

He sighed in that particular teenaged way we all know and replied, in a perfect deadpan, “What does a fisherman like to fish?”

Not only did that fluster the girl so much she had no idea how to keep pestering him, but it is also such an amazing response that I think I’ll be stealing it the next time I get frustrated because someone asks me what I like to write when they can see perfectly well that I’m trying to actually write.

It’s NaNoWriMo for the first time

It’s November, which means it’s time for those so insanely inclined to churn out a 50,000-word novel in 30 days in the name of arting like a motherfucker. In years past, I learned that November is my own personal novel-less month and that signing up for NaNo is only ever a sure path to disappointment and self-loathing.

However, THIS YEAR is different. All of the things that have traditionally demanded my time and attention in November are no longer a factor. On top of that, I’ve got the full support of the people I live with, which is a new and exciting condition for me.

In other words, LET’S DO THIS.

As a novelist, I’m somewhere on the Pantser end of the writing style spectrum, with only very slight Architect tendencies. Which is to say, I’ll come up with a few ideas about the general structure, and hope that all of the details fill themselves in as I go. The fact that I’ve never hit 50K by November 30th might be related to this approach in some way, but I concede nothing. When I make too solid a plan, I find my creativity constrained by its boundaries to the point of immobility. There’s a sweet spot somewhere in the middle, and sometimes that boundary has to be renegotiated on a chapter-by-chapter basis. The real problem with NaNo is having only 30 days in which to perform these negotiations.

How do you novel?