NaNoWriMo and Moi
This past November I participated in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, for the second time since 2013 and I cheated. Yes, hanging head, I cheated. I didn’t intend to do such a nefarious thing, since the rules require that you start fresh, a blank page, zip words, on November 1st, and write your wee little writer’s heart out until the Witching Hour on the 30th.
I started out registering what would be my first Regency romance, something I’ve never done, as a challenge. Made up a cover for inspiration and waited for the kick-off on the appointed day like a good little girl. The day got closer and closer, and the deadlines for some requested manuscripts approached too. Just to torture myself I took a look at my unfinished manuscripts and wondered why anyone would want to start something new instead of finishing another promising WIP. That nagging voice finally won out.
The next thing I knew an unfinished mystery romance novella had drop-kicked my Regency Romance off of my NaNoWriMo page, and suddenly a partially begun manuscript had settled in there. “Ginger’s Promise” had been cooling off on the proverbial writing stove for over a year, and I was stuck, unable to finish or edit. Over 25,000 words badly needing several types of rewrite, editorial resuscitation, and rejuvenation. This was a not so pretty party dress I took out of the closet and put on for NaNoWriMo.
Unlike last year, working on Ginger’s Promise as a NaNoWriMo project was painful. Wisdom teeth extraction painful. Getting ready for the holidays and college age kids in the house that looked like a before shot of “Hoarders”, a massive garage sale for taking care of that. Well, you get the ugly picture. In the middle of this, I was supposed to be producing thousands of words a day, and it wasn’t working. Guilt and family, my own induced guilt that is, called, and things needed to be done. By the time my kids were home, the house had been cleaned and neatened, holiday grocery shopping was done, I looked at the approaching deadline with dread and depression. Self-doubt, that heart eater of writers and other artists, wanted a piece of me.
But here’s the thing: I have a. extraordinarily great family, and they made sure that I had time to write and finish. The Saturday before the deadline I dragged Ginger’s Promise over the finish line at over 50,000, feeling the need for a quart of good wine, excellent guacamole, and superb tortilla chips. What had defeated me for well over a year was “done” thanks to NaNoWriMo and encouragement from my buddies at Houston Writers Guild. Kudos as well to the local NaNoWriMo leaders and members in Houston (John and Lindsay, you’re my heroes!). The excellent community of writers in Houston, especially my friends at HWG kept me going when it would’ve been prettier and easier to quit.
So what now? Editing, editing, editing. Revising, editing, more revision. Chats with beta readers and a professional editor to winnow out the plot holes, inconsistencies, and just plain bad writing. Oh, and I’m participating in JukePop as a finished NaNoWriMo’er as part of their promo. One chapter’s already been posted, revised, reposted, edited. You get the picture. I dragged Ginger over the finish line, and now need to do a makeover for her. That’s another story. I’m using Ginger as the springboard into qualifying for my Romance of America’s PAN eligibility.