February 6, 2013


It's difficult to pinpoint when this project—which I am hoping will become my first published novel—began. At some point in August, a scene played through my mind. That scene kept replaying, and eventually, it grew, developing into a series of scenes.

While those scenes were primarily built of snapshots of moments, by the end of August, late one night, a conversation played out. This conversation insisted on being completed and recorded, and so it was. Bits and pieces of scenes and plots kept circling through my mind as these characters developed, growing ever more insistent. 

In September, a Facebook post by someone from a former writing workshop reminded me about the upcoming National Novel Writing Month. While I had previously heard of NaNoWriMo, life circumstances and a lack of pressing ideas prevented me from truly considering participating. In October, I created my NaNoWriMo account, still debating over the wisdom of even attempting this challenge. I hadn't written 50,000 words in the previous couple years combined. Trying to do it over the span of 30 days? Insane.

Still, urged on by the relentless repetition of these characters in my mind, which had pressed me to sketch out a basic plot sequence, I decided to try, and on November 1st, I began to write. With the support of the NaNoWriMo community, and due to my stubborn inability to accept failure, I managed to finish—to "win." That is, to write 50,619 words in one month.

Many people participate in NaNoWriMo for the sake of writing, as opposed to for the sake of completing a project. I have heard of people who write whatever comes to mind, look at it in December, and throw it away. I am not that type of person. The time and the effort such an undertaking requires should not be, in my opinion, wasted on a project with no potential. If I hadn't believed in the quality of my work - rough as a first draft inevitably is—I couldn't have finished out the month. 

This meant that, once November ended, the manuscript nevertheless had to be completed, and, eventually, submitted for publication. While the draft is not yet finished, I am moving closer to creating the story these characters deserve—a story that, I believe, will be worth the effort, and worth reading.

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