I wrote the first installment in my mystery novel series way back in 2002. A year later I wrote the second novel, backed it up on floppy discs and began shopping the first novel around to various agents. Got a few nibbles, but no takers. Meanwhile, over the years I continued writing the stories, posting one of the novellas on its own dedicated blog and creating a video installment vlog of another. Two years ago, for NaNoWriMo, I wrote a third novel in the series, and then last year, I wrote the fourth novel in the series.
Then I decided it was time to roll the stories out, so in February of last year, I published ExtremeUnction, the first novel in the series, in paperback through the POD printing service, Lulu. Shortly after, I published it to the Kindel through KDP then the Nook service PubIt. I began also publishing novellas and shorts I had either previously written or had been thinking of writing for years.
However, the whole time there was one thing nagging at me. I wanted to publish the rest of that mystery series. I even made up some covers for them which are all set and ready to go. Unfortunately there was a problem. In the years since I had first written that second novel, the computer I’d written it on had crashed and the discs had mostly become corrupted. I know I had printed out a few copies, but I cannot for the life of me find any of those. My computer savvy friend tried several times to retrieve the files from that fried hard drive to no avail. We managed only to save chapters one, two and five. The rest was gone forever. I had no option, but to re-write 33 chapters of the 36 chapter novel.
So in October, I outlined the story anew, and prepared myself for NaNo 2013.
Well, here we are one day shy of the last day of November, and today I will exceed 50,000 words early in chapter 35. I may even finish the final chapter tonight, but I will not post my results until sometime on the 30th. For the second time in two attempts I will complete NaNoWriMo a winner.
So what is NaNoWriMo? What’s it all about? Well, for most people who commit, it’s a social way to push one’s self to complete a novel. It’s a personal challenge that one shares with other writers through a social network. It’s a way to connect with other people who share a similar personal goal – like Weight Watchers for bibliophiles. The same way going to a gym and having a friend spot you keeps some people on track better than using a home weight system, NaNoWriMo has writing buddies and motivational notes from successful writers or regional leaders.
Personally, I don’t bother with any of that. I self-motivate just fine. I wrote novels one and four in the series with no assistance from NaNo, and novel two is in its second completion; the first non-NaNo, the second as a NaNo project. And, no, it isn’t really “done” done. I still have to do edits and re-writes, then get a few beta readers to find the inconsistencies and grammar and spelling errors I missed. But draft one will be in-the-tank, and that feels like success somehow.
But there’s something about getting to brag that I finished NaNo that makes the experience more satisfying. When I finish a novel in June, I can turn to my girlfriend and say, “It’s finished.” But her reply is usually something like, “Good. Now get to sleep. We have things to do tomorrow.” When I finish NaNo, I can post that to Facebook or this blog and know that – while nobody really cares – at least I can pretend that my boasts are helping somebody else achieve their personal goal as well.