Nanowrimo 2018 is here!
by R. Skotarczyk
It’s NaNoWriMo again!!! For those of you who know, that means – National November Writing Month. It’s a wonderful challenge for all us writers out there to write a novel in one month – roughly 60,000 words. That means, writing has to take place EVERY DAY or you won’t win. What do you get if you win? A FRIGGIN’ FINISHED NOVEL!!! And how good would that make you feel?
I know it made me feel pretty dern good in 2015 when I finish “From the Other Seat”. Man, I was so excited about the fact I had finished my first novel that I did that total novice thing, signed up at Reedsy, found me an editor, paid a hefty fee to have it edited only to realize that the novel was SO far from being ready. Editor dude made a few brash critiques and I took that as, “THE NOVEL SUCKS. CHANGE EVERYTHING”. Ah rookie mistakes…
In my gut, I knew I should have taken Stephen King’s (On Writing) advice, put it in a drawer and forgot about it for 2 years, but instead I attacked it, kept editing, ripped apart the structure until it was no longer the same book. In the back of my mind I heard King’s warning, if you keep picking at a new manuscript you’ll destroy it….
Well. I did. Done destroyed it. “From the Other Seat” still exists, mind you. It lives in about 5 different versions in 8 different folders in my handy Scriviner software. I’ve opened them again recently… there’s still a novel there… somewhere. I’ll uh… fix it someday… **sigh**
This year, I’m preggers and home most of the time, thus I have a second chance at novel writing. Luckily, I have a few old ideas waiting in the wings, so while I won’t be starting from scratch, I’ll be starting anew. The new project is called, “Freedom Falling” (temporary cover, bad design, I know). It’s roughly about being a rebellious teen, and trying to grow up too fast. She’s a runaway who finds her self in the dusty desert with some shady characters where she tastes fear for the first time, loses her innocence, and her virginity, but gains a whole lot of life lessons along the way.
Boring premise? Well… I’m working on it. The point of Nano is not to be an amazing writer right from the start, but just to BE A WRITER. Write. Whatever. Just let your fingers fly. Let out the good, bad, and the ugly. Don’t edit along the way. Only move forward. There’s no other way to get through the challenge. And even if, like me, you’ll delete half the book when the challenge is through, you’ll have puked out all the bad ideas along the way. You have to get out the bad before you get to the good… I think Hemingway said that.
Anyway, I love this challenge because I make so many excuses in my normal weeks to NOT write, or at least not write in a purposeful way. And I can’t explain how satisfying it is to log in your daily word progress and watch the handy novel graph go up up up up. (If you’re curious what I’m talking about head to https://nanowrimo.org)
In light of Nano, I’ve compiled a simple list of my favorite authors. They are, as follows in order of flavor-favs.
Ernest Hemingway, Haruki Murakami, Sherman Alexie, Barbara Kingsolver, and Katherine Arden.
Not a huge list, but these peeps have been the most impactful on me.
And here are a short list of books that have helped define me, in order of most inspiring:
A Moveable Feast (Hemingway) (I pretty much read this once a year)
On Writing (Stephen King)
The Shepard’s Life (Rebanks)
Kafka on the Shore (Murakami)
War Dances (Alexie)
Prodigal Summer (Kingsolver)
The Winternight Trilogy (Arden)
Women Who Run with the Wolves (Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
The Little Prince (Saint-Exupéry)
The Hobbit (Tolken)
Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott) (all time elementary school life-changer favorite)
The Secrets of Dr. Taverner (Fortune)
Journey to Ixlan (Castaneda)
Good luck to all you fellow writers out there!!! See you in December <3