Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting Prepared

I am getting very excited about the Nanowrimo writing challenge coming up in two weeks. I have been talking about the upcoming book I will be attempting and I don't have a lot to add to what I have already said about the book. But in this case I am focusing on the preparations.

Last year I was unsure if I was going to do nano and therefore I wasn't prepared for what I would write. November third came and I made the official decision to throw my hat in the ring and give it a shot. I was extremely concerned about my chances being so different from 2011 when I had entered and completed Never Give Up.

In the case of Never Give Up I had been working on the idea for about a decade. I found the urgency given by the looming deadline to be a tremendous motivator. It gave me the push I hadn't had before. However last year when I made the choice to try it again I didn't have a story idea waiting in the wings ready to jump out and take over the pages.

I announced I would be joining nano on November 3rd but then I sat there staring at my screen. I had no clue what to write. I went home and walked into my office looking at all of the books I had to read and the reference books that adorned my office desk. Finally I opened up my file cabinet and began leafing through my papers. I came to a file simply called to be used and found a short story that had accidentally been placed to be used later on.

Breathe was a short story I had written previously. It was designed to be simply that, a short story. I figured though that it would be a blast to see if I had the ability and creativity to expand the story into a full length novel. Once I chose the story I figured I was set, I couldn't have been more wrong. I struggled intensely.

I was taking a seven page story and attempting to grow it out to 50,000 words or about one hundred seventy pages. It was coming entirely from my imagination and I was just not able to find a connection with my characters. Between the lack of understanding of the characters and the time restraints from working my day job I quickly found myself falling behind drastically. At one point during the month I was over 13,000 words behind.

I stayed dedicated and went to the library or focused in my home office. I made up the deficit and forged the needed connection with the characters taking me from being days behind and ending with me finishing a day early making me a two time nanowrimo winner. The high I experienced the first time was incredible but to truly concept and create a story exclusively from my mind was a whole new level.

Now this year I am preparing to take on a different kind of challenge. I am writing a story that I have not totally story boarded. It is all imagined with no link to me or my life making it far more like Breathe than Never Give Up. The additional element is that it is a supernatural fantasy which is a genre I have never written before. Moreover it is the first book in a series, also something I have never attempted. I usually write stand alone novels.

I am excited about challenging myself, about doing something that makes me nervous. I am not sure I can do this but it will be a great accomplishment if I do, and more importantly a chance to prove to myself that I can grow as an artist. I look forward to sharing my continuing adventures with everyone soon.

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