By: CJ Petterson
Oops. Wrong headline, and yes, here I am, in a state of flux. Caught somewhere between the beginning of fall (the autumn equinox occurred Sept. 22) and the end of daylight savings time (if you’re on it, it ends Nov. 6 at 2 a.m.). On a downward slide to the end of the year. Think about it. Right now, many stores have displays up for the generic harvest time and fall colors as well as for every single one of the upcoming holidays. So Happy HalloThanksHannukMasKwanzYear!
Now, if you’re a writer who likes a challenge, here’s another event to anticipate and celebrate: The beginning of NaNoWriMo—November, the National Novel Writing Month; the month where authors challenge themselves to write fifty thousand words in one month, that’s 50,000 (it looks bigger in numbers). Let’s see, “30 days hath September, April, June, and November.” That means you’ll have to write an average of (just a minute, calculations going on) 1,666.6 words per day to reach the goal. Whew!
If you’re going to take the challenge (I’ll admit only to “thinking” about it), now is the time to pre-plot, if you haven’t already started the process. Deciding to take the NaNoWriMo challenge is one of those times where it isn’t a good idea to jump right in and begin writing. In order to accomplish 50,000 words in thirty days, you will definitely need some pre-planning. You’ll need a basic idea of how you want the action to progress. Especially important to speedwriting is to know something (better would be a lot) about your characters, what their emotional and developmental arcs will be.
The plus side of all that pre-plot/pre-plan work is not only will you have a better chance of successfully completing the NaNoWriMo challenge and creating the nucleus of a new story, but it’s also a good bet that you’ll need a lot fewer rewrites to make that first draft into a viable, saleable novel. (How’s that for a sentence that leaves you breathless? On many levels.)
If you’re not in a support group (they are very good for encouragement and motivation), there are multiple sources of helpful forums and advice online. There is even an official organization: http://nanowrimo.org
So, what are you doing reading this? You should be plotting and planning! Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards and get started on developing those characters and plots. There are only ten days left until Nov. 1 (I counted them). And now that I think about it, since I get paid monthly, I have only two more paydays until Christmas. Aarrgh!
You-all guys keep on keeping on, and remember, if you opt to enter NaNoWriMo, I’m rooting for you…even if I chicken out. Let me know how you do, okay?
PS: Thanks so much, Kait and all the authors at MotiveMeansOpportunity, for giving me an opportunity to do a guest post on your blog. I’m coming back to study your tips on “How to Write a Private Eye Novel” . . . your insights are just what I need. Thanks again for hosting me. cj
Author “cj petterson” is the pen name of Marilyn A. Johnston. An incorrigible wordsmith who is published in several genres, Marilyn was born in Texas, retired from a career in Michigan’s automotive industry, and now lives with her family on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. As cj petterson, she has authored two contemporary romantic suspense novels—Deadly Star and Choosing Carter—and several short stories . . . the latest short is a historical fiction piece scheduled for publication in a Western anthology, The Posse, in February 2017. Her novel-in-progress (about 100 pages done) is a female, private detective mystery (her first true mystery), and she’s promised herself the case will be solved before Christmas.
Follow author cj petterson on her blog site at www.lyricalpens.com and at
Amazon Central Author Page: http://amzn.to/1NIDKC0
THE BOOK BLURB:
When you ask cj about her contemporary romantic suspense Choosing Carter, she’ll give you its Jane Bond elevator pitch in less than twenty words: “Somewhere in the mountains of Colorado, a woman must choose between the man she loves and her terrorist brother.”
Choosing Carter is one of the six romance novels bundled by publisher Crimson Romance in an offering they call “More than Friends.” The bundle is available on Amazon from now until February 2017 for 99 cents (sometimes less, sometimes free) … a great gift idea for the “holidaze” (or Valentine’s Day) for yourself, BFF, or writing buddy … hours and hours of entertainment for less than a buck! Check it out at http://amzn.to/2dnqnLJ