Thursday, November 1, 2012

#NaNoWriMo

I hope everyone had a nice Halloween. I don’t know about anyone else, but my consumption of Snickers minis goes through the roof this time of year. Good stuff.

The All Hallow’s Read promotion for Deadly Reflections was a roaring success. Thousands of readers snagged a free copy over the last two days, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Today marks the release of the “paperback” version of Deadly Reflections, or whatever the equivalent is for an ebook. It has a brand new cover and there’s a short Q&A with yours truly at the end. There were also some typographical fixes made, so it should read cleanly across all the devices on which it can be read. If you enjoyed the book in the past, be sure to tell your friends or followers. I’d like to see DR continue to find appreciative readers as we move forward. (Also, check out the expanded interview with Patrick Mattox in the Deadly Reflections section of this blog, where we talk about the creation of the new cover.)

November 1st also marks the first day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. This is the time of year when everyone with literary ambitions becomes month-long weekend warriors attempting to complete a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month. To accomplish this, one must maintain a daily output of 1,667 words—no small feat.

There have been some snide remarks made by “real writers” about this event. They seem to take offense at the prospect that some neophyte with a word processor thinks he or she can dash out a novel just like that, as if it were that easy.

To that, I say “balderdash.” (With maybe a sprinkling of “poppycock” and “bunkum.”)

If someone wants to partake in the venerable tradition of written storytelling, I am more than willing to welcome them into the fold. I think that, yes, the newcomers will find the work challenging and the discipline it takes to sit and write for a couple hours a day hard to master. But, if they stick with it, I believe they will also find how rewarding it can be to have something to show for the day, week, month. And, perhaps, despite all the frustrations and heartbreak and anxiety that come with writing, some of those people will decide to continue doing it after November, and some of those people will enrich the world with great stories in the future. There is and always will be a need for great storytellers. This is a month full of promise, for everyone, not just the writers.

And it starts today. So: if you have an idea (or even if you don’t; there have been plenty of great “plot-less” novels), try writing a couple thousand words before midnight. And if you feel good about the results, try it again tomorrow. See how many days you can string together, and at the end of the month you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. (Remember: This is mostly about quantity. A rough first draft after a month’s work is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it’s something to be very, very proud of.)

With my next novel deep into the editing process, I am not quite ready to start a new novel. But that doesn’t mean I’m not constantly writing something, whether it be an essay, or a short story, or just writing to see whether something will lead somewhere. So in an act of solidarity with all those attempting the Herculean feat this month, I will duly put in my daily work and try to hit the 1,667 mark every day. At the end of the day, I’ll post the number of words I managed to wrestle to the page on my Twitter and hopefully we can encourage each other to keep going. Let’s just have fun, let go, and write.

For all those hoping to have a productive month, I wish you the best of luck.

DHS

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