National Novel Writing Month

I didn’t make the commitment to full-time writing very long ago, as in early 2016.  I have one finished rough draft manuscript sitting in my drawer to edit.  One thing about me though is that I like a challenge.  So when I heard about (National Novel Writing Month), I got excited.  Here was a challenge that would be a “sink or swim” situation.  Yes! I love that.  I don’t know about anyone else, but having a goal (some might say, deadline) keeps me motivated.  Toss in the fact that it’s an organized event where I can meet other writers in person and online too.  I’m in.  Crazy, for sure, but all the way, over my head, 100% – in!  The idea is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days!  That is roughly 1,700 words per day, every day.  I can do that.

Making the decision was the easy part, that was done in August.  I hurried to finish that aforementioned manuscript in September.  Then I had to decide what novel I would write for November so I could plan it out in October. Since I don’t like to lose a challenge – goes with my perfectionist, competitive personality – I wanted something that would inspire me.  Of course, the right idea came when I wasn’t looking for it.  Sitting with my husband watching tv one night I noticed a commercial that featured a fairy tale like character.  That got me thinking. I like to use what I call the three-year-old method while I’m thinking about plot and characters.  Spend a little time talking to a three-year-old and you’ll quickly understand what I mean.  Everything you say to them is followed by a question.  Why is that blue?  What is that?  Can I touch it? If I get stuck when I’m writing I look at it like a three-year-old and question the heck out of it.

After remembering a few of the top classics one of them stuck out at me; Beauty and the Beast.  I know it’s been re-done a ton of times but one of the “what if’s” I asked myself got me excited.  So I dug around a little bit, and the twist I came up with seems to be a pretty fresh take on the old story.  Yeah me!

Now what? That particular fairy tale seems best suited for young adult readers.   Right out of the gate I found that fifty-thousand words are not going to cut it.  The average length of a YA book is anywhere from 80,000 to over 100,000 words.  Since a fairy tale counts as a fantasy story, that means it’s on the upper end of that.  Yikes!  Now, what have I done to myself?  I took about five minutes to decide whether I would come up with a new plan or not.  Nope, I’m all in, remember.  90,000 words it is.  Shooting for the center seemed appropriate.  That means that I need 3,000 words per day now if I’m going to finish my novel in November.  Granted the challenge is just to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  It doesn’t require that you finish your novel.  But that’s just not the way I’m wired.  October has flown by with all the research, plotting and planning.  I think I’m ready, but I guess I’ll find out in a few days when I hit the keyboard.