November is going to be a crazy month.
I've signed up to tackle NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words during November. Plots, outlines and characters can be created beforehand, but the actually penning, or typing, of the text must take place in November.
At last check, more that 173,000 writers across the world had signed up. That's a lot of words, coffees, late nights and tortured creative types. So if a writer you know seems particularly stressed in November, cut them a bit of slack.
It's a tough ask, 50,000 words in 30 days. Especially for someone who up until now has written picture books. But it's a chance to push myself into a young adult (YA) novel, which is one of my writing goals. Jump in at the deep end, sink or swim, bite off more than you can chew and chew like mad, and all those clichés. Fly or fail. Write or regret.
And just because that didn't seem like enough, I've also pledged to take part in PiBoIdMo – Picture Book Ideas Month. Also during November, PiBoIdMo was set up by US picture book author Tara Lazar, who didn't want the novelists to have all the fun. Ideas don't need to be posted online, but participants must pledge that all 30 ideas were thought of in November.
I'm excited to be doing both. Even if I don't finish NaNaWriMo I'll have made a great start and challenged myself in a new genre. Thirty picture book (PB) ideas seems achievable – the challenge will be to make them good ideas.
The difficulty will be separating the two. YA and PB are very different styles of writing, not only in length but in structure. PBs are basically a hill – there's conflict, and there's solution. Novels are the whole mountain range – just when you think you've reached the climax another peak presents itself. Paths twist and turn, there are dead ends, chasms, rope bridges that break as you cross them. And that's just the first chapter.
In terms of daily word count, 50,000 in 30 days comes down to 1667 words a day. Excluding a week-long family holiday and other commitments, it comes down to 2500 a day for 20 days. That's assuming I have the momentum to keep going.
At the moment I'm way behind plotting for NaNoWriMo. I've got a couple of ideas I'm trying to flesh out and I'm hoping one of them can sustain 50,000 without me losing interest – because if the writer loses interest the reader isn't going to care.
So here's looking forward to 30 days and 30 nights of writing, ideas and a lot of coffee, and hitting the ground running