Sunday, November 1, 2009

I’m on the NaNo train, and it just left the station

Stephen King said, "I don't think my books would've been as successful as they are if the readers didn't think they were in the hands of a true crazy person. When I start a story, I don't know where it's going."

I know some people started writing at midnight last night since that was the official beginning of NaNo, or National Novel Writing Month. But I didn't start until this morning and I really didn't have any idea of where my story was going until I started writing. So in some ways my book is in the hands of a crazy person, but I have faith that my characters are sane and will keep the story moving in the direction that makes sense to them.

If you're not familiar with the NaNo concept you can go take a look here at the website, but basically the whole idea is to spend thirty days producing a novel that is at least 50,000 words.

You can have ideas for your book ahead of time, but you're not supposed to write word one until November 1 and you have to have 50,000 words by November 30 to finish. And no you can't just type one word over and over.

If you could, I might choose the word Mississippi, just because it's fun to type. [and in my head there's that sing song voice that recites M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I. …but that might just be me]

So, this morning I got up, stretched, did some yoga, had breakfast and started writing a new book.

I've been thinking about the story for a couple of weeks. But today was the first time I met my characters.

I like them. And I have figured out their motivations. I know where the story is going and I wrote the first three hundred and ninety nine words without having to change anything.

So, I was stoked. I wanted to tell someone about how excited I was. My plants listened intently and were green with envy. The friend that I woke up at 9:00am on a Sunday morning listened groggily and then asked if I'd call back and tell him everything again in a few hours.

THEN, I had the great idea of updating my word count to my NaNo profile. To show all of my writing buddies that so far this morning I produced 399 words. Which I think is the brilliance of the whole concept of writing with a bunch of other people all over the world. You have someone to tell about your accomplishments and someone to share any and all angst you're feeling.

I have a bunch of writing buddies but only two had posted word counts this morning by 9:00am. Of the two that had posted ganymeder's word count was 2,514 and inkydigits was 967 so far today.

To hit the goal of 50,000 you need to produce around 1,700 words a day.

So back to work for me. I'd like to get a cushion today if at all possible since this upcoming week will be a busy one.

I'll update my NaNo progress periodically but the blog won't suddenly be about NaNo.

As a matter of fact this Tuesday features a new Ten Questions Tuesday, and Wednesday is my birthday so I'll be posting something interesting for that and as always there will be a Things I've seen Thursdays.

So don't fret, I've been gathering things to talk about and just yesterday I saw a lady's wig stolen by a squirrel for nesting material……[not really just finding out if you're actually paying attention]

Thanks for listening to me talk about jumping head first into writing a novel in a month. And any and all encouragement is welcome. My plants are fun to talk to, but they really don't say much.

So stay tuned, keep your fingers crossed for me and if you want to see excerpts in small chunks let me know, I might be able to post some of the less smutty parts.


~Tim said...

I'm uncrossing my fingers just long enough to type, "You go!" Okay, recrossing my fingers for you now.

Laura Eno said...

Good luck to us both! :)

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Laura! And good luck to you as well. I'm so excited that you're going to be one of my writing buddies.
Are you a cookie or pie kind of girl? I'm stockpiling both for when we get the munchies at 3:00am.....

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Tim! Just make sure you uncross them while you're cutting your grass today...don't want any nasty accidents.....[but then immediately recross them...I need all the luck I can get]


Laura Eno said...

I won't turn down any food, as long as I don't have to cook, but cookies sound good!

Karen from Mentor said...

Cookies it is. I'll lay in an assortment. And I always have milk....


Marianne aka Mariment said...


After reading this I found myself singing, "Three hundred and ninety-nine words on the page, three hundred and ninety-nine words...if the keyboard taps and you call it a wrap, there'll be eight hundred and ninety-eight words on the page...!"

Oh's the NaNo Song! :-D

Rachel said...

Go you! You should get cheerleaders to cheer you on constantly.

Oh, and now I know why Steven King's endings are generally so disapointing. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

You go girl! (can't believe I had another opportunity to type this :P)
I'm glad your plants liked what you wrote, but I'm sure we'll be a better audience. Test us any time!
Break a leg and be sure to post on updates too :)

Karen from Mentor said...

Will do Estrella, and I laughed at the "You go girl"

I'll be updating the word count at the top of the blog. Current count: 2,195

Thanks for the encouragement honey.
Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Marianne, I'm not sure that the song will catch on, but I will definitely get you to sing it for me the next time we do lunch.

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Rachel
A) Didn't know you'd ever read Stephen
B) Can all my cheerleaders look like Nathan Fillion?

judy said...

Yay you! Much more graceful start than mine, but that is not surprising. We're twins and all, but I'm the clumsy one. You're the gazelle! (I laughed when I typed that. It's either funny, or I still need coffee.)

Big Nano hugs, baby! We're off!

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Judy, Good morning darlin and hugs back at cha! Your post this morning about your meltdown yesterday made me laugh and laugh....

Paraphrasing Flower from Bambi..."You can call me a Gazelle if you want to..."

I thought what you said just now was funny....but I need it might just be low blood sugar talking....

you: coffee ... me: food ... right...then we'll meet at the end of the day and compare word counts.

I'm REALLY enjoying spending time inside the head of an alien.
[metaphorically speaking that is]

Lauren C said...

Go Karen go! Knowing your writerly energy and enthusiasm, I believe you can do this. Woop! *does some awkward cheerleadery jumps, lands with a slight thump, and does jazz hands to make up for it*

I think I might start the poem-a-day-for-November thing... though I'll have to write two today. Better get on it!

Also, I really enjoyed the idea of a squirrel stealing a wig. Favorite bizarre squirrel moments: a) a squirrel in a tree gnawing on a gigantic mushroom cap, and b) squirrel dragging a gigantic (like 12" x 14") piece of cardboard across the grass and up into a tree, while the cardboard was flapping in the wind. Truly an epic moment, that one.

Karen from Mentor said...

Woo hoo Lauren, Loved Loved Loved the jazz hands "to make up for it"....laughing...

I hope you do the poem a day thing...I think you'll love it and since it's for charity it's a win/win.

I saw a squirrel yesterday who had stuffed his mouth so full of leaves that he couldn't see where he was going as he climbed the tree up to his nest. He had to keep stopping and turning sideways to look out of one eye like a lizard. It was really funny.

I just updated my word count at the NaNo site...My counter said I had 3,665 words...they say 3,666 words.....laughing at the 666, I think I might have to write a couple of more words just to avoid leaving it at 666 overnight....but maybe I'll live dangerously....

hugs honey!!! thanks for stopping in to show encouragement and to tell me squirrel stories....cause you know I love a good squirrel story.

Cat Connor said...

Back, doing!

Had ambulance last night (well 3:30 this morning) for Breezy who has croup. Now trying to write before Lee arrives for some filming. I doubt he'll mind if I ignore him and Chris though. He's a writer, he gets it! :-)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Cat,
Good that you're back and started writing as soon as Breezy was comfortable, back home and tucked up safely in bed of course. You have a missing day to make up for after all from your trip. If Lee minds, just bonk him with your embossed copy of the secret rules of the multi winning NaNo writer pledge book.....[or just give him crazy NaNo eyes...either will work]
Can't believe you're doing NaNo and getting ready for your book launch party at the same time. You might have the market cornered on overkill for November missy!

Tim Hallinan said...

Wring those words out of your forebrain if that's the only way to get them -- I've been doing it for a month, just building a sort of story stairway with no idea where it was leading, and very little joy -- and whoosh! -- I see light. I see where I was going, why I was going there, how to improve it, and where it's leading. But it almost stopped me dead, and I've done this like twenty times.

So write, even if it's terrible, and get those 50,000 words ahead of time.

Karen from Mentor said...

Wow Tim.....I don't think that I'm quite in your league....[giant understatement] but I really appreciate the advice from a pro. I had no problem at all producing words the first two days and then today? I discovered procrastination....ah....must be the curse of NaNo....laughing.....

Note to those not familiar with Tim Hallinan.....his book "Breathing Water" just came out in hardcover and is AWESOME....go buy won't be disappointed, I certainly wasn't.

Thanks for stopping in Tim.
Karen :0)