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  • Writer's pictureKit Eyre

Getting into NaNoWriMo 2021

It's NaNoWriMo time again!

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, even if that's something of a misnomer now and it's more like International Novel Writing Month. I'm not sure InNoWriMo or IntNoWriMo rolls off the tongue as easily (unless you're a Yorkshire lass like me), so sticking with NaNoWriMo is probably for the best.

The basic premise of NaNo is that you write 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November. If you "win", you get the satisfaction of knowing you've got a huge chunk of a first draft written.

Long-time readers of mine will know that I'm a big fan of NaNo. A look at my stats on the official website show that:

  • I've participated at least 7 times (I think it's 8 or 9 to be honest!)

  • I've written at least 50,000 words on 5 occasions

  • I've written a total of 301,460 words during NaNo months since November 2011

Out of all that, I've got 6 drafts that in various stages of rewriting (the idea for 2015 was essentially a rewrite of the 2012 idea) and my first NaNo attempt that isn't listed on the official website spawned my fourth novel Such Crooked Wood.

So, NaNo has been incredibly useful to me as a writer. Even when I haven't completed a novel in the month of November, I've tried to do it under NaNo conditions - and that's how the first drafts of But By Degrees and Valerie came into being.

Once I've got a first draft, I'm not exaggerating when I say the story can then percolate for years before it's ready for publication. I like to let drafts sit for a while and get to know characters a little better in the meantime.

Take my 2014 NaNo novel as an example: it's now on its third draft and is (I think) finally settled on theme and what it's trying to say. Will it be released anytime soon? Probably not as other novel drafts are further up the queue!

I realise that the NaNo system and the way I leave drafts to percolate isn't right for all authors but it works for me. One of the reasons my Valerie Series is starting to move a little more quickly is because the characters are right there with me and I've spent so long with the ideas for the series growing that it's much easier to write them.

That's partly why my novel project for NaNoWriMo 2021 is Book 4 in the Valerie Series.

I know, I know: why am I writing Book 4 when I haven't even released Book 3 yet?

Well, 'Max' is nearly finished and I'm on the final set of edits. I have to say, I love the way it's going and I can't wait for Valerie fans to read it. But there was no way I'd get it done by the beginning of November and focusing on those edits would mean I couldn't participate in NaNo.

Writing and getting into a certain rhythm with my writing has been difficult over the last couple of years thanks to Covid-19 and other issues. I feel as though I need the camaraderie of NaNo to get me through the first draft of Book 4 now or I don't know when I'll be able to push myself to write it. Although it will delay the release of Book 3, it should mean Book 4 is released earlier so that has to be a good thing!

If you're also participating in NaNo, please add me a buddy. My username is CharmedLassie and it's identifiable by the Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz profile pic!

In the meantime, stay tuned for announcements on another project. If you've been paying attention to my teasers about my Victorian serial over the last five years (yes, no exaggeration there either), it's about to happen.

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