by Julie, juggling in Somerville
The title of this blog sounds like code, doesn’t it? Let me decode.
NaNoWriMo, NaNo for short, stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50K draft of a novel by the end of the month. The site has badges are surprisingly effective. And Sisters in Crime is offering four write-ins a day six days a week, twitter sprints and a private group for support for anyone doing NaNo. There are also a couple of webinars planned, include one next week with Hank Phillippi Ryan, “The Magic in the Middle: NaNoWriMo Style”. (You can register here if you’re interested!) I’m the executive director of SinC, so while I’m not running all the write-ins, I’m making sure the ship is running. Thank heaven for wonderful volunteers, but I digress.
Since SinC has started doing NaNo as a group, I’ve been doing NaNo as well. I did it years ago, without much success. But writing together, even virtually, and checking in has kept me on track, and the last two Garden Squad mysteries started during NaNo.
So what’s plantsing? Writers frequently talk about being a plotter or a panster, ie writing by the seat of your pants. Pantsing is also called organic writing. I am a plotter. (I am playing with a new plotting tool called Plottr, which has templates that are very interesting, but I digress again.) Plotting gives me a roadmap for my books, and I usually stick to it for the most part.
I have an idea for a book that I thought of for the first book in a new cozy series, and I decided to write that this NaNo. I plotted it a bit in October, but not up to my normal standards. I decided to tell it from the POV of a niece who lives with her Sherlockian aunt. I started writing on November 1, and then it all went off the rails.
What if, the gremlins in my imagination said, this cute shopping complex on Cape Cod used to be a spy training ground during WWII? What if some of the scenes are from the aunt’s point of view? What if there’s the cozy structure, but with spy stuff thrown in? What if–
The gremlins kept me up, so I started plantsing, which is a mixture of plotting and pantsing. This is not in my comfort zone, but perhaps that’s the point. The beauty of NaNo is that there’s no time to second guess myself. If I want to get that 50K badge, I need to keep writing. The draft will be a mess, but they all are. It may not even work. But then again, it may.
What I do know is that I’m having a blast writing, and that’s a gift to me this November.
Readers, what happens to you when you’re out of your comfort zone? Writers, are any of you doing NaNo this November? I’m cozygal on the site!