Can I make a confession? I came to the NaNoWriMo party somewhat late. For the uninitiated, NaNo is the (some say crazy) push to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, from Nov. 1-30.
I joined the push for the first time in 2009, with the intent of writing about 40K to finish BLIND DATE BRIDE.
By the end of November, I’d only managed about 25K. I did, however, develop enough of a habit that I finished the first draft of BRIDE by the end of the year. Considering I’d started it back in 1999 or 2000, that was a major victory.
I decided to try NaNo again in 2010. That year, I started a brand-new novel—but I’d done some (okay, a lot of) pre-planning. I ended up writing 53K in 27 days. Yep. With a map of my story, I finished three days early.
In 2011, I joined the good fight with a vague idea for BREAKING ALL THE RULES (which will be a TMP release next spring). There were some rough patches and I thought about giving up. In the end, I spent eight hours in a chair at Starbucks Nov. 30, barely breaking 50K before it was time to go to work and put in another eight-plus hours.
In 2012, I had two wins under my belt, giving me the false impression that NaNo would be a piece of cake. I planned to get a good start on a single title story—50K of about 90K total.
Uh…yeah. Didn’t happen. My excuse: I’d just finished the draft of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and couldn’t muster up enough oomph to write at breakneck speed for 3o more days.
In 2013, I didn’t even bother to sign up. I spent the six or so weeks prior to Nov. 1 writing the first draft of SLIDING INTO HOME, and knew from past experience that I’d be too drained to keep up the pace.
This year, I’m giving it another go, with the same single-title story I couldn’t get going in 2012. It’s a romantic comedy, of course. That’s what I write, after all. This time, though, there are paranormal elements.
Okay, the book’s only paranormal element is its ghost. The ghost is not a love interest, though. He merely meddles in the heroine’s life, having decided his mission is to help her get the happy ending that eluded him and his lady love so many generations ago.
I got the spark of an idea from Concrete Blonde’s song, “Ghost of a Texas Ladies’ Man.” I was walking through my neighborhood (back when I did that more regularly than I do now) and it came up on my iPhone.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to write a story about the ghost of a Texas ladies’ man?” I asked no one in particular.
And a story started to take shape in my mind. I thought I’d have no trouble writing it, because I pounded out a 3,000-word backstory for the ghost in an evening. The heroine was easy, too. Unfortunately, I could not come up with a good hero.
That problem has been resolved (I hope), and I’m excited to kick off NaNo on Saturday. Who’s with me?
If you’re joining in the fun, you might be interested in this blog post from Nathan Bransford. It promises “everything you need” for NaNoWriMo.