Sunday, October 30, 2011


Yeah, it's that time again: National Novel Writing Month. This will be my fourth entry in five years. I was unsuccessful in 2007 and 2008, and in 2009, I was able to complete my 50,000 word goal. This is the Novel-We-Speak-Not-Of.

There is a reason I don't normally talk about this novel. It was an idea I'd been rolling around for the better part of two or three years. Loosely based on Peter Pan, it's about five kids and their babysitter who set out to find a secret world in their house where no one ever grows up. It was supposed to be a story about the games only kids can play, where everyone can see the world you create without having to ask a lot of questions. It was supposed to be the kind of story where you couldn't tell if it was real or all in their heads. It was supposed to be fun and poignant and whimsical.

It was very few of those things. There were a few scenes that weren't completely terrible, and even a nice scene where the oldest boy, appropriately named Peter, can no longer see the world they've created because he grew up to much and has different priorities. It has pirates and ninjas and cowboys and plants that taste like candy and animals that can talk. It should have been a pretty great story.

I've always felt like the problem was that I rushed writing it, so when I got to the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo, I only wanted it done. There were parts, like the ending, that were rushed, and parts that were dragged out just so I could reach my word count. And I got sick of it. Really, really sick of it, to the point where I still can't read it without feeling some residual anxiety. I completely burned myself out.

But this year, I have a plan. Instead of going in attempting to write 50,000 words of one novel, I have two adult novels, a YA novel, and a short story or two on the agenda. Obviously, my main focus will be Rosetta, since this is the book I want to complete and publish. But I've been really excited about Dash and the currently Untitled YA novel as well. Plus, I've written about half of a really cute short story that I'd like to finish. The goal will just be to write 50,000 words this month. I'm not putting all my eggs in one book, which takes the pressure to complete something out of the mix. If I finish something, that's great, but I'll be able to meet my word count somewhere else. If I finish nothing, it's not because I didn't write fast enough or efficiently enough; it's because I was working on many projects.

And hopefully all this will reduce the likelihood that I'll hate whatever I end up with.

So good luck to everyone who's writing this month (both for NaNo and just for fun). I hope you get something really great out of it.

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