Participating in Camp NaNoWriMo 2019
I’m happy to announce that I’ve officially signed up to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo 2019! My main goal is to polish the manuscript for my women’s fiction novel Dirty by April 30th, so I can begin the process of querying agents on May 1st.
I’ve “won” classic National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each November, twice. In 2003, while in between full-time gigs, I dashed out a rough draft of my first attempt at long-form fiction, Under L: A Catalogue of Little Lies Lovers Tell One Another. That version has Issues: The bulk of the story is told in summary rather scene, and a major plot thread drops like a loose stitch two-thirds of the way through. But I wrote 50,644 words in 30 days, and it wasn’t all throw-away material! In fact, I’m eventually going to undertake a page-one rewrite of Under L because the NaNoWriMo experiment proved the central concept and characters are full of fun, romance, and dramatic potential.
I didn’t win a decade later when I tried to leverage NaNoWriMo to get the elusive first draft of Dirty down. My timing was off. I was spinning up a freelance writing and editing business and had just enrolled in the Online Writing Certificate Program at Stanford. I’d significantly underestimated how much brain and body power I’d need to invest in both pursuits in order to succeed at them. To be honest, I was very disappointed with myself in 2013. I mean, I’d killed the challenge the first time around and expected to continue in that vein. Ultimately, though, this failure proved to be a distinct advantage. It gave me the space I needed to absorb and implement the craft lessons I learned through the OWC, resulting in a much stronger foundation for the draft I completed three years later.
Then, in 2018, I used NaNoWriMo as a revision sprint for Dirty. I was just wrapping up a story editing job and spent ten days attending the Kauai Writers Conference in Hawaii. I leaned on jet lag and writerly commiseration—as well as pricey umbrella drinks—to clarify points and flesh out a number of stubbed-in passages, arriving at the 50,262-word mark at 3:24 PM on November 30th.
I’ve identified a half-dozen sections to shore up using the excellent notes provided by my writing group after a full-manuscript read in March. I’d like to hit 65,000 words in this version, and I’ve got 30 days in which to do it. Here’s to making it rain this April!