IWSG: It's NaNo Time, and I'm Not


It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means IWSG time!
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Be sure to drop in on our awesome co-hosts for October: Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and, well, me! 

This month's question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

Since today is the kick-off for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for anyone who wonders), it seems only right to talk about that novel-in-a-month project. First, I'll answer the question: yes, and yes. I think I've done NaNo 4 times, once for a revision rather than drafting a new novel. Each time I hit the 50K-word target before the end of the month, and each time had to go on for 1-5 weeks to actually finish a draft, since (outside of kid lit), 50,000 words is not a novel.

So far, one of those novels has been published. Death By Trombone was my first NaNo project in 2013, and it worked very well. I had the book well outlined in advance, and as a result I managed to produce a complete draft by mid-December that didn't require major rewriting to become a  novel. Even so, I had to use a bit of NaNo nudging in 2014 to get on the revisions and finish it.  I published it (the second in the Pismawallops PTA mystery series) in 2015. For NaNo in 2015, I drafted Death By Adverb, the 3rd in that series, and let it sit while I worked on the 3rd Ninja Librarian book, The Problem With Peggy (which I might have worked on as an April Camp NaNo project. I know I did something with that one year).

Now, I dove into Death By Adverb with less of a plan, and as a result, I had more of a mess, including an ending that didn't quite cut it. That probably was part of why that book sat for over a year before I got back to it. But I did get back to it, and expect to have it out by Christmas, or by Easter at the latest...

My 2016 project was a little different, since I was working to take a collection of flash fiction and turn it into a novel. That would be the stories about Gorg the Troll, and I'd hoped to be back at it before now, but DBA is taking a lot longer than intended, partly because it's been a busy year. But when I do get there, I have a nominally complete draft to start from.

All this means that though I'm itching to start my next project, I won't be a NaNer this year. For one thing, I need to deal with the projects in the pipeline, at least a little. And for another, I just don't have time to plan and plot the way I'd like to before I start a new book. I've done it both ways enough to know: pantsing is tempting because once the general idea is there, the urge to dive in is huge. But it costs in the long run (especially when writing a mystery!), and I'm resolved not to leap before I look any more (I am also 100% sure I'll break that vow, since I've already made and broken it more than once). I'll even go so far as to urge you, if you are participating in NaNo and don't have an outline, to take a few days and create one, of whatever variety feels right to you. I'm betting you'll increase your odds of both "winning" (i.e., hitting 50k by Nov. 30) and actually finishing the book--and even of publishing. (I have written several times on this topic, but the most recent and most helpful is this).

So...all that said...go forth and NaNo, Nanners!

Oh--and best of luck to everyone (okay, including me) who submitted stories to the IWSG Anthology!

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2017
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!


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