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Nanowrimo! Play by Numbers

November 5, 2016

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

 

50,000 words in a month seems like a daunting number, but as last year, I have found that you can get into the rhythm of your obligatory 1,700 words a day fairly quickly. My other books come in at around 100,000 words, however, it takes at least four months to write the first draft, so this month, the pressure is really on.

Anyone who has read "A Poisonous Journey" or "A Darker Shore" will know that I have a fondness for history and mystery. Last year, I viewed Nanowrimo as a challenge to try my hand at a different genre, and while I finished in time (without detesting the end result), I noticed YA fantasy may not be right for me at the moment. This year, I am attempting a psychological thriller. I think something any writer benefits from tremendously is reading, both within your own genre and others. Apart from learning about the basics, you start to truly absorb how a story should flow. It is up to every individual writer to determine the structure of their work, but it is incredibly valuable to understand the many options you have in this respect.

From reading, I learned that I feel most invested, generally, in stories told in the first person, which is also the voice in which I choose to write almost all my stories and books. You expand your vocabulary and start to pick up on grammatical trends, as it seems many authors differ, for example, in their usage of commas.

For this year's Nanowrimo effort, I am reading a lot of books in the crime fiction genre. Writing historical mysteries and psychological thrillers requires a different method of setting a mood, of creating an atmosphere and slowly unwrapping parts of the story for the reader to guess. It can be a challenge, but there is a real sense of satisfaction, too, once on November 30, you put in your word count and get that notification badge that you've won Nanowrimo. I encourage everyone participating to keep at it, and try to keep reading during this time! This is a great opportunity to get a creative head-start on that novel you have bubbling away inside you, and even if you fall short of the 50,000 words, you will hopefully come away from the experience feeling you have tried something new, which is a success in itself. Happy writing and good luck!

 

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