NaNoWriMo: My Experiences Writing 50,000 Words in One Month

National Novel Writing Month 2015


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month six times with varying degrees of success. Here’s a summary:

2003: A multi-generational saga centered around one house and my mom’s lengthy genealogy, this story is a choppy mess. I dream of someday revising this project into a set of short stories.

2005: The story of my heart, this project is about a young woman who regains her family’s ancestral home (actually, the same house as in my multi-generational saga) only to realize that her grandparents’ spiritual legacy was of more value than their material one.Where She Belongs

This much revised–and oft re-titled–story, which placed as a Bronze Medalist in the  My Book Therapy Frasier Contest a couple of years ago, releases from Revell in January as the first novel in the Misty Willow Series. Books #2 and #3 release in September 2016 and May 2017. Yay!

2008: Years ago, I learned that POW camps were set up in Florida and other states during War World II to imprison captured Germans. What kind of woman, I wondered, would help a German prisoner escape from one of those camps. So I tried to find out during this year’s NaNoWriMo.

When Memory Whisper v2With revised openings of this manuscript, I won the Writer of the Year and Best Novel awards at the Florida Christian Fiction Conference in 2009 and signed with my agent. Polished but unpublished, I haven’t given up hope for it yet. You can read the opening chapters of the now titled When Memory Whispers on my website.

2009: Friends who read the complete (and completely revised) manuscript of When Memory Whispers begged for a sequel. “Can’t happen,” I said. “Everybody died.” (Do you think that’s why editors aren’t interested? Hmm!)

where-treasure-hides-682x1024-new-coverIn an aha! moment, the proverbial lightbulb blinked above my head. A secondary character, a widowed British officer, became the male protagonist of a World War II love story, Where Treasure Hides, this year’s NaNoWriMo project.

The revised manuscript won the 2011 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest in the Historical Fiction category. Tyndale released the ebook in 2013 and the print edition this past August. There’s also a Dutch version!

where-treasure-hides-in-dutch12010: Wanting to do something a little different, I decided to write my 50,000 unedited NaNoWriMo words by hand. But I didn’t get very far. Family emergencies and hospitalizations derailed my plans. This was the first time I signed up for NaNoWriMo and didn’t win a completion certificate.

2012: Though I have successfully “won” NaNo when I was working full-time and had kids underfoot, for some reason this year — no job, no kids — I procrastinated until I could procrastinate no more. On November 29th and 30th, I pounded out the remaining 30,000 words.

The result: I got my NaNo certificate. And a pain that radiated through my wrist and up my arm to my shoulder.

This project was the sequel to Where Treasure Hides, tentatively titled What Time Reveals. It needs major work before anyone but me can read it. 🙂

2015: With a December 1st deadline looming, I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year. However, the “just do it” bug is catching so I’ve agreed to write 25,000 words–what I’m referring to as NaNoWriMo Lite.

Join me next week to see how I’m preparing for the November madness.

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