Last year I found the site in the wee hours of November 1st and decided that my finding it on the very day the challenge began was someone's way of telling me I should stop talk and thinking about writing a book and get busy writing it. Being as I had written exactly little of nothing outside of some lengthy emails since my college day, I decided to go with some good advice and write what I know. So I did my first NaNo as a rebel and wrote my 50,000 word in the form of a parenting memoir of sorts. So I didn't have to think about plots, characters, or scenes. That was a good thing because all I had to do was write out some of the many stories of our adventures in parenting. I had very little organization. If a story was about one of the kids as a baby, it went in the Infant chapter, High School stories went in the High School chapter, etc. After I hit my goal shortly before Thanksgiving, I put it away needing some distance from anything even resembling writing. Basically other than adding some words to it as an assignment for a writing class, I did nothing else on it. It still sits at about 51,000 words and may never be finished.
The experience I gained last November was priceless. I learned that I could write and get to the 50,000 word goal in the 30 days allotted. I earned that there are so many other writers out there and I am not alone. I learned that writing IS a group sport! I met some fantastic and enthusiastic writers and found some very cool places to hang out and write that I might never have visited were it not for someone deciding to hold a write-in there. I am not the sort of person to go out and meetup with someone I don't already know and spend several hours with them. This seemed very safe, meeting up in public places and in a group setting and I learned so much from those mostly 20-something writers. They didn't shun me because I am older than them, maybe older than their parents even. Many of them are the ages of my adult children, and maybe that is why hanging out with them never bothered me.
This year, I am doing it again. This year, I am going to do it the non-rebel way. I am attempting to write an inspirational fiction mystery novel, from scratch. I search high and low for ideas and read extensively during the month of October to figure out what to write and more importantly HOW to write it. It still left me unsure until late in the day on November 1st what my subject matter would be. I only got there because one of the other WriMos recommended during a Chatzy Write-In that I check out the area of the NaNo website for adopting plots. I read through so many, making notes on any that seemed interesting, several pages of notes actually. Then I found a simple idea that I twisted and expanded on and made my own. I have some ideas for plot and characters, but nothing even remotely complete and not very solid yet. I took a free class on Sunday afternoon called Introduction to Murder that was offered at the library and taught by members of the Indiana Writers Center. One of the things the teacher had us do in class was to write down our opening sentence. What do I know about opening sentences to mystery books? Nothing! But, I dug deep and wrote some babble down, then had to share it aloud with the teacher and the 1 other student taking the class with me. They both loved it and thought I should use it! So after that, my word count stands at 26 words. But that quirky idea of an opening sentence helped lead my story, gave me a focus of sorts to begin planning actual characters and the tiniest thread of a plot. My word count should be 6,668 or higher at the end of day 4, but it is just 26. I am hoping and praying that once my plot is more solid and my characters more real to me the thought will spill forth from my brain painlessly and plentifully and I will be able to catch up and even get ahead in no time. It is not too late to join the challenge. You only have to write 27 words to get ahead of me! Am I worried? Yeah, a little. But the ideas are growing in my head and I had a vision today of turning this one little idea into a series of 7 or more books. How is that for positive thinking and being ambitious? Come on and join me, we will do this thing together. What is the worst that can happen? I could fail the challenge by not getting to the goal in time, but any words I write are more than I had written on Halloween, so I still win don't I? So, what's it going to be? Are you in?