Is it time for every single post on my feed to be about NaNoWriMo? BECAUSE I AM READY. (In case you don’t know, that’s National Novel Writing Month.)
This is so hilarious. Let me direct you to two years ago when I wrote a long, rambling, asshole-y post about why I don’t participate in NaNo. Spoiler: despite using my anxiety as an excuse, I still participated. And guess what, I did it. Wait. I’m cackling. So last year rolls around, and I’m going to quote myself:
Remember last year, when I was still pretentious, and I was like I don’t do NaNo because deadlines and I don’t get along. Well, Mary, adults need to work with deadlines, so get your head out of your ass and start figuring it out. Okay, really, looking back at that blog, I blamed my anxiety for why I wasn’t doing NaNo, and that’s just not a valid excuse, so here I am, trying to do NaNo.
It’s 2019, and I’m still mad at my past self for being a brat!
HI I’M DOING NANO THIS YEAR AND I’M EXCITED ABOUT IT!
I’ve actually been thinking about it quite a bit this year, and though I didn’t participate in literally any other writing challenge this year, I’m down for NaNo. I’m actually going to do it this year, too. (Hopefully? Last year, I wrote 25k in one week because I couldn’t be bothered.) And, by that, I mean I’m going to try to write every week and post weekly updates every Friday to check in with how I’m doing. (We’ll see? This is not a solid schedule like October, this is just me doing my best because writing is fickle.) No matter what, I’m going to hit 50k. Last year, I kind of dilly dallied around for three weeks, wrote a sporadic 25k here and there, and then was like ALRIGHT CRACKING ALL THE KNUCKLES LET’S FINISH THIS and wrote 25k in one week because I am rude.
Look, I write at the speed of light, this can’t be helped.
BUT! I saw this kickass tag over at Weird Zeal, which was created by Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner, and I am always here to talk about my writing, so here we go! I can’t believe I’m actually making a preemptive decision about what I’m going to write this month, this may backfire.
Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!
Y’ALL I’M WRITING A VAMPIRE STORY.
I have been thinking about this story for literal years. First created in December 2015 (oh god please don’t read that), redone earlier this year in March, and then featured again this month for a Character Spotlight, Andrew Levi is an old dream of mine. (Apparently, wow, I did not realize he was older even than some of my main ideas.) I want to write exactly one vampire story in my entire career, and while it will turn into a series, this is it. This is how I make up for all the ways vamps have been done wrong over the years.
When Andrew Levi wakes up in downtown Boston, he knows three things: one, he has no idea how he got here; two, there are three very large dogs lurking behind him that may or may not be hellhounds; and three, he’s a vampire. Fast forward several years, and Andrew knows a lot more than that now. He’s a well-renowned detective for the Boston PD, his amnesia previous to waking up in the city hasn’t changed, his dogs are definitely hellhounds, and his partner, Sam Baker, is probably going to stake him through the heart if he blacks out during feeding again and accidentally throws them headlong into a triple homicide. That is, if Andrew’s old coven leader doesn’t get to her first.
oh my god can I
THERE’S NO ROMANCE BETWEEN ANDREW AND SAM!
I just had to shout that really quick because I am not about different spaces with massive age gaps, and I know that’s the first thing someone’s going to think from that summary. Also, I’m not really about straight characters so both of them are gay, woooooo.
What’s the genre?
This is adult urban fantasy. I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that most of my novels are going to be adult, despite always thinking they’d be young adult, because I like writing about characters in their 20s. Andrew is in his 30s (LOLLLLL he’s ancient), and Sam’s in her late 20s (I think?), plus this works with some more adult themes, so this will fall solidly in the adult age range. And urban fantasy because Boston, but vampires.
Describe your MC in three words.
Can I do both of them?
Andrew: grumpy, tired, unimpressed.
Sam: passionate, curious, hopeful.
ughhhhhhh I love them
Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.
Dmitri Kuznetsov: patient, organized, debonair.
What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)
Alright, so. I’m going for 50k. Officially.
Unofficially, I’m going to try for 100k. I doubt it’s actually going to happen, and I may end up not trying at all, but if I do, it’ll be 50k of Andrew’s story and 50k of a sequel to another project that I should be writing for NaNo because it’ll literally write itself, but I really want to work on a new project.
So, officially, I’m trying for the first 50k of vampire detective.
Is this your first draft? Second? Third?
First draft! Technically, I’ve written two short stories for this, yes, but I’ve never actually put pen to paper on the novel form of it, and let me tell you, it’s a struggle not jumping in right now.
I’d like to add that, about three days after drafting this post, I went mildly insane and wrote 15k. So, still a first draft, but I’ve already started it. I’ll update next Friday when NaNo actually starts with what my jumping point is. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a finished novel by the end of November instead of half.
Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?
New? Technically? This is how most of my novels work, aside from the big two (Pen boys & Saintsverse). I write a short story at some point, realize that there’s so much more potential lurking in it, and eventually play with it enough that it takes the shape of a novel. So, it’s new, but it’s also been swimming around since 2015, apparently.
What is your favourite time to write in the day?
I could literally write at any time, honestly. Most of the time, I write during the morning/afternoon, but if I’m seriously cranking out some words, I’ll write at night. I’ve got one novel, sister witches, that I loooooove to write at night at my favorite cafe, but that only happens every so often, and I work a lot of nights, so it’s mostly a day thing for me.
Where are you going to write?
At my desk! I work best in a comfortable chair with space to rest my arms and with limited Internet access. The writing zone usually means I can’t get to YouTube, which is detrimental to literally everything in my life. I very occasionally write in bed, but that’s only if an idea has got me hooked so badly that I can’t set it down, and that usually means I’m up late speed-typing. Ahem, see below.
Computer or paper?
Computer, always. I outline and character sketch on paper, but all of the actual writing is on a computer/laptop.
NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment! How are you going to make time to write?
Y’ALL I AM GOING TO CRUSH THIS. I already have a lot of free time during the day, so my reading usually suffers during the month of November because I just swap out half of my reading hours for writing ones.
Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)
I work three jobs and only have one day off a week, so nah.
Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?
Oh boy, the beginning, for sure. One of my writing friends just, like, writes random scenes and eventually threads them together and I am? SO CONFUSED? by this process, let me tell you. I would probably cease to exist. I am a very linear person.
Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)
Considering I’ve been subconsciously working on this novel for four years, I’m going to assume it’s obvious I’m a planner. Two years ago, I even decided to take another crack at it, and I sat down with my friend, Jen, who’s my sounding board for a lot of new ideas, and figured out Andrew’s history. That’s a major spoiler, though, and ties back into my master plan for my entire writing career. Eventually, it fizzled out because I hadn’t quite grasped the side characters and plot yet, but we arrived at something bordering on YES earlier this year with his short story, so it’s finally time to start outlining for real.
And yes, I outline. Several times. I usually outline right from the start, as well as write out character sketches, and then I’ll re-outline anytime there’s a major change to the previous one that requires some new planning. They’re very broad outlines, mostly just here are my three acts, here’s what I want to accomplish in each, and a list of any scenes that have been skipping around in my brain. I don’t outline chapters, but I do know whereabouts I want my word count to be at the end of each act, so that kind of gives me a vague idea of where certain pieces of the story should happen.
What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?
I don’t eat while writing because my fingers are too damn busy typing faster than my brain because I have a confirm 104 wpm, but see below.
Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)
Hi, my name is Mary, and I am a Tea Queen.
(Oh, that’s a good post about tea, but two very important updates: I no longer drink Two Leaves Earl Grey because they switched from loose leaf to bagged and ruined it, but Jolie’s Glenburn Earl Grey is off the chain. I also don’t use Bold Drop bags anymore because they switched to a less environmentally friendly packaging system, but have not started using my new brand yet to confirm if they’re good.)
It gives me life. I drink it every day, once in the morning, sometimes at night if I need to wind down (or amp it up to keep writing), and so many times on the weekend.
Earl Grey is my favorite, but I’m a big fan of green or white floral teas.
Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?
I am a big believer in a reward system, and like a good book nerd, my reward for finishing a given amount of words during the day is to read my book. I often write first, read second, so I’m only allowed to pick up my book if I’ve gotten to my allotted writing goal for the day.
Obviously, sometimes goals don’t work, and I’m never going to force myself to write first if reading would better suit my day/help my vibe, so sometimes those swap.
Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!
It is not the end of the world if you don’t meet your goal. Whether that’s your overall 50k goal, or your daily goal. Your book is always going to be there. It’s not going to go away just because you didn’t write 5000 words one day.
However. You have to write it. Even when you don’t want to, you gotta. Because it is just going to sit there if you don’t work on it, and it’s not magically going to finish itself if all you do is complain about how you can’t write it. Motivation is not a thing, folks. It’s all about pure determination. You can write a book, but first you have to.
How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)
So freaking excited. I made it by the skin of my teeth last year (ie: wrote 25k in the last week), but this year the plan is to go big or go home, and to actually be prepared in advance. I decided last minute that I wanted to do NaNo last year, but this year? Get at me, bro.
Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!
I will literally never figure out how to make an aesthetic mood board successfully without the format trying to kill me, so here is my Pinterest board for this novel. I have a general aesthetic for the whole thing, and then a section inside for each of the main characters.
And that’s my plan for NaNoWriMo this year! Are you participating? If you are, add me as a friend on the official website! I have zero idea what I’m doing over there, and I’ll probably forget to update it, but it’s the thought that counts!