Write a Novel in a Month

Long, long ago in a life that now seems far, far away, a friend I’d met in an online writing class convinced me to join her in the NaNoWriMo challenge. If you aren’t a writer, you might be scratching your head. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writers Month. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. 

In spite of the fact that my November 2001 calendar boasted my baby’s birthday (his 7th), Thanksgiving, and a trip as chaperone on my daughter’s 5th grade outdoor education trip (I think it was 2 nights/3 days), I signed up. By the end of that month, I had written just over 50,000 words. Suddenly I had a finished novel— and no idea what to do with it. It was a huge turning point. God led me to a writer’s group. I learned about revisions and submissions. I attended a writers conference. I got rejections. I finished three other novels before beginning the one that would become Wings of a Dream.

In the joy of finishing that first book, I never imagined that ten years later I’d be standing at the precipice of another such writing challenge, this time with fellow historical authors, all of us needing a jumpstart on our books. My third to-be-published book. With Bethany House, no less. Who knew what amazing things the Lord would do in one short decade! 

So starting tomorrow my fingers will spend four weeks flying across the keyboard, exploring new characters, a new plot. And while I have a general idea where this story is going, I confess I’m wildly excited to see what surprising things each new day will bring. I’ll continue to blog, but forgive me if some days are a quick historical tidbit instead of a longer post. And I’d be grateful for your prayers as I explore this new story.


graceformymess.com said...

I'm so excited for you as you tackle NaNoWriMo again! You've been such an inspiration - I can't wait to see where this month takes you! I'll be praying for you along the way. Carpe diem!

Blessings in Him,

P.S. My sister LOVES her signed copy of Wings of a Dream! I thought she was going to cry when I gave it to her! :)

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Anne Mateer said...

Thank you, Jana. You are always so encouraging and I appreciate your prayers. I'm so glad your sister was excited about the book!

Regina Jennings said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Anne! I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year and already I feel like I'm getting somewhere with this story. It's so freeing to just scribble the ideas as fast as they appear instead of always jumping back to double check a fact or a better synonym. That's what rewrites are for, right?

Rexcrisanto Delson said...

Write away Anne and let the editors do the editing :) A mentor once told me, "Be the architect and not the engineer." Happy writing!

Rexcrisanto Delson said...

. . . just curious, do you edit your own or have another editor review your work?

Anne Mateer said...

Yes, Regina, rewrites are the real work!

Rexcrisanto, thanks for stopping by--and for asking a great question! I write the first draft fast, as it comes to me, but it's pretty much a mess when I finish. Then I edit it myself for plot and character, smoothing out the story. Then I let my critique group have at it. I revise again with their suggestions in mind. After that, I finally hand it over to my editor, who still finds amazing ways to make the story stronger. So the answer to your question is: both! I think learning to edit yourself is an invaluable skill. But allowing others to edit you requires practice, too. As I told Regina above, the real work is in the revisions, which are really the rewriting, not in the initial getting the story out of my head and onto the screen. At least for me! :)