Yes, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year! I learned about it the first year I was writing, in 2009. I participated that year on novel #1. At least, I think it was novel #1. The timing wouldn’t really work for it to have been anything other than novel #1. In any case, I participated, but fell short by about 8000 words. I’d started at 50,000 words, though (technically against the rules, but since there’s no prize for winning except a little web-badge and your own satisfaction, it’s okay to bend the rules to fit your needs), so by the end of the month I had most of a novel written. I skipped last year because I was working on Magestone and far enough in that I didn’t feel I needed to (not to mention, the novelty wasn’t as fresh as the year before).
I’m doing it the proper way this year, writing a completely new project. Well, mostly new. I’ve got about 2000 words down already, that I couldn’t help writing (novels do that, tend to write themselves from time to time). This time around I’ve outlined most of the plot. I’m writing my Thanksgiving dream, which gave me a strong starting point because I already knew a number of plot points. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve fleshed that out so that I know essentially all of the points of the plot.
Ordinarily, I write a first draft in about three months. This includes a number of work stoppages, some lasting multiple days, as I reach a plot block and have to sort out what comes next. Sometimes I get really busy for a stretch (holidays, etc) and can’t work on it, or just set it on the back burner to simmer in my subconscious.
My goal with this novel is to finish the first draft in six weeks or less. I feel there are two points in my favour to make this actually come to pass. This first is that I’m writing it as part of NaNo, which means that, if I "win" the event, I’ll have 50,000 words in four weeks at the very least, and roughly 70,000 in six if I keep up the NaNo pace, which is 1666 words a day. Upping the daily count to, say, 2000 a day – not a huge jump, really, it amounts to one extra published-book page of text per day – means 60,000 words for NaNo, and 84,000 words for six weeks. Which is an average length for a YA book.
(Not an average length for my YA books, mind you. I’ve yet to finish a first draft under 100,000, try as I might. But average for the genre.)
The other thing going in my favour is that I have a detailed outline. Therefore, I always know what comes next. The biggest reason my first drafts take me three months is the pauses to figure out where the story is going. Once I know the next scene or two, I can easily pound out a few thousand words in a sitting. If I don’t have to stop to figure out the next scene, I should be able to fly through the draft. Relatively speaking. That’s my hope, anyway.
So – NaNo! Wish me luck! You can follow along with my progress at my NaNo page, or (hopefully) a widget on this site, once they go live.