Or the National Novel Writing Month, is something I hadn’t known about when I first started writing. I found out about it by reading the two writing mags I know about, Writers Monthly and Writers Forum.
This US idea is to encourage the creative spark we all have, whether we know it or not, or at least, that is what I understand it to be about. The idea is write 50,000 words during the month of November.
I have completed this twice now, and the first novel, Finding Our Way is available to download for kindle from Amazon. The second one, Shipshape … hasn’t been published yet – just one more job I must get on with. I also tried it a third time, but really, my heart wasn’t fully in it and I only got around 30,000 words done by the cut off date of 30 November. This is a follow up to Shipshape … which I titled … and Bristol Fashion (what else eh?). It is with a proof reader at the moment. And will be available soon I hope.
When I have mentioned this a number of people have given me funny looks and asked what NANOWRIMO was. Once explained they shudder and say things like, ‘How on earth do you do that? And you know what, it’s a valid question. How do you write 50,000 words in thirty days? 50,000 ÷ 30 = 1,666 a day. Is that a lot? Depends on what you consider ‘a lot’ means. RL Stine, an American author, claims to write 2,000 words a day. At that point he stops for the day. The most I have ever written in one day was my very first day of writing when I go nearly 10,000 words done; not got anywhere near that number since. Back to NANO then …
There are days when I can’t do any writing at all so it’s always good to get a bit ahead of my target for each day. If I write 2,000 words a day for a week, then I’m able to take a day off with it have an effect on the overall target. The feeling of attainment when I reach a daily target is great, really great and is enough to encourage me on to greater things the next day. However, if I only write say, 1200 words then I shall have to 2,000 the next day or whenever I can get back to it. That that is what happened with … and Bristol Fashion.
Finding Our Way is the story of how three men adapt to major changes in their lives. It is based here in Warwickshire and the first chapter is based on a real person who I know of even when at school, plagued the life of the estate he lived on. I had the idea of what would happen if the locals got fed up with him and took things into their own hands.
I keep reading advice about not using a large lottery win to close a problem, and in one instant of not using it at all. ‘Don’t use twins either,’ is one I read often. But hey guys n gals, I don’t like rules all that much, my House of Pain begins with twins and goes on for 180,000 words – but as they say, that’s another story … So then, back to Finding. The second character does win big but he uses his win to help others. The third man is involved with the lesson teaching with the first man. Slowly, over only 56,000 words the story plays out. And as all good fairy stories end, they live happily ever after – or maybe not … … …
Shipshape … is entirely different type of story. The idea for this one came to me in dream. I made a quick note of it the next morning before I lost it. When November came round I started again with this one. Having spent 12 years in the Army I decided that this story idea would fit in with service life rather well. The main branch is the Royal Navy though, not the Army, which does come into it as well, along with the RAF too. It is the story of an officer who goes missing and the search for him. During it cases of blackmail and assault are found, along with the possibility of sabotage of HM Forces equipment.
A lot of open story line was left when that one was finished, so I decided I would wait until the next November when I could do a follow up, and that is where … and Bristol Fashion came from. It begins 18 months after the first one closes. Two characters from the first story are arrested while transporting drugs, and the story barrels on from there. However, I am aware that this one too hasn’t been rounded off very well, what I need to decided is to extend it now, or write a third story instead. As I said above, I didn’t manage to finish the full 50,000 words on this one. The reasons basically, is that we had so much going on at the time that I really shouldn’t have attempted it at all. Ah well …
And what of the future? In December last year I was looking at my photos and found one I took in the snow a few years ago, and a new story idea was born. That one features Alan Parsons, the top cop in The Mission, my first novel. That one is now on the back burner while I get on with Arathusia, a fantasy novel that also came to me in a dream. Not sure what the word count on that one though.
Anyway … if you would like to try them, search under Ron G. Clark on Amazon. Mission, House of Pain and Web of Hate, are all available on kindle or in paperback. Hope you enjoy them.