Writer’s Journal: NaNoWriMo

Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!

If you are an author, or even a reader, you have probably heard about “NaNo” until you’re ready to puke. (Or, as the case may be, start a drinking game. 😉 ) However, you may not be certain what NaNo even is. I can help with that.

NaNo is short for NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. A man named Chris Baty began the NaNo tradition in 1999, so it’s been around a while now. It’s a “contest” in which participants write, or attempt to write, a 50,000-word novel in thirty days.

Being a person who loves a challenge, I enjoy taking part in NaNo. This is my second year, the first being 2015. Last year, I took a year off as I transitioned from teaching to writing full time.

It does not follow, however, that because I enjoy a challenge that I actually meet it. In 2015, I came within 7,000 words of completing the challenge. This year, as of the writing of this article, I have completed 679 words in a day on the NaNo story. It’s not where I hoped to be by now, but I had a Christmas story I was finishing up, which got as many as 1,413 words a day on it. This story had to be done first, so the NaNo one had to wait. As per NaNo rules, I can only count the words on one story. I could have cheated and used all the words I write this month—as old-time NASCAR guys always say, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying  😉 —but integrity is important to me.

What am I writing for NaNo? I have a plot bunny that I got a couple years ago when my friend Gail went on vacation. She came back with a ton of pictures from her family vacation to Bodie, California, which is an old gold mining ghost town in a state of arrested decay (or something like that.) People left the town between 1880 and 1942 or so, and when they departed, they literally walked away with just their clothes. Left behind were beds and tables and canned goods, drugs on pharmacy shelves, old cars, a sewing machine, everything. If it could not be carried in a suitcase, it was left behind. The town became part of a state park in 1962. The park rangers do what they can to keep the buildings standing as long as possible, and sometimes they re-roof one, but other than that, nothing is renovated or restored. To walk into this town is like walking into history.

Anyway, that’s where my story is set. It’s called Darcy’s Bodie Mine, and in it, Darcy has won the mine in a card game, and Lizzy is a saloon singer who came from a good family and wants to start a new life, one that does not involve singing in front of a crowd of drunken miners.

Now that I have completed my Christmas story, I am excited to refresh my brain with my research and start writing like a demon on steroids—at least, that’s the plan! So, I guess it’s time to get back to the writing! 🙂

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3

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