This year, we’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is the abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as “November.” The idea is to start and finish a first draft in thirty days.
Michael and I have worked on our little science fantasy bundle of joy, Things They Buried (which we promise will finally arrive in the first months of 2019), through two previous Novembers, but have never focused on starting and finishing a first draft for NaNoWriMo before.
Fortunately, our follow up manuscript, working title The Long Game, is practically made for this kind of thing. The Long Game is a series of novellas, each with their own unique action-adventure plot, but tied together through an over-arching storyline. The technical definition of novella length varies depending on who you ask, but for the most part falls between 20,000 and 40,000 words, though I’ve seen some go as high as 60,000.
Four of The Long Game’s novellas have already been drafted, and the massive timeline chart of who’s doing what where, is in place, so Michael and I have begun working on structure and outlining for the fifth one this week (we anticipate six total). As mentioned in our blog, “Writing as a Team,” we do this part together, then I scuttle off to my lair and tap out the first draft while he earns the money that keeps this train on the rails.
The first two chapters of this novella are already in the bag, leaving me with twenty-two days to push out the other 17,000 to 38,000. That effort will, of course, be interspersed with questions, discussions, and arguments with Michael as I encounter plot holes, inconsistencies, or “neat opportunities.” I can generally crank out 2,000 words a day before my brain goes to mush and I start typing gibberish that’s no good to anyone and must be deleted the next day. With inspiration though, I can hit 5,000 before the joints in my knuckles freeze.