Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Writer's Tool of the Month: NaNoWriMo

Being an indie author means I have a hard time defining what I do with a single word.

I'm a writer.
I'm a blogger.
I'm a cover designer.
I'm a book formatter.
I'm a promoter.
I'm a marketer.
I'm a publisher.
And now I've successfully gotten an author friend on their way to seeing their own book in both ebook and (soon to come) print formats so I guess I should call myself an enabler, too. 

But there is no word that seems to capture all that in a neat, succinct word.

I've heard "authorpreneur", which, while fitting, doesn't roll out of my mouth without me tripping over it. (Hey, I'm a writer, not a speaker!) And I like the word "creative" but calling myself a creative seems both fantastically sci-fi and terribly vague.

However, I get a 30-day respite from my identity crisis because…It's November! And I'm a NaNoer!
(Yes, it does deserve two explanation points. I give myself three to use a day and just blew through two in one line. I REGRET NOTHING.)

Originally, I was going to use NaNoWriMo to charge on through my serial-in-progress, CHARM CITY. In fact, I already had my profile up and ready to go for this past Sunday's start. It was going to be me, my exorcist, and his personal demons locked in a room for thirty days. I was coming out of that room with the second set of episodes come hell or holy water.

And then…Saturday happened.

I'd been reading an article on the seven points of story structure. I began musing how well it clarified some of the elements of the 15-count beat sheet I had recently starting working with. And then I read a submission call for a press looking for ghost stories and this little noise went off in my head.

Bing! Don't you have a story idea in your file already? said my brain.

I did. I brainstormed an idea several years ago that I'd really liked but I was too busy with other books to do anything about it. I'm glad I tucked it away in my writer's notebook because I decided that maybe I should use my story plotting tools to see if there was an actual story there.

horror, supernatural, paranormal, romantic elements
My ten-minute cover. (No teasing allowed.)

And, good Lord, there actually was a story. It just needed a little structure to make it stand up for itself.

So I spent Saturday thinking about that old story idea and started talking and plotting and coming up with the plot points needed to follow a solid, satisfying story flow.

And it looks like a lot of fun.

So, I told my exorcist his story could wait for a month. I have a new story that wants to be written.

It will be an experimental because generally, I'm a pantser. I like to write freely, to capture the scenes and sequels that preoccupy my thoughts and bring it all into story form once I've got a ton on paper and I know that the story won't go away until I finish it.

But this is plotting. Complete and utter outlined order. No chaos. No surprises. (I'd already written them.)

While I'd never NaNo'ed a novel from scratch, I have used the month to get a lot of words down in current projects. Two of my NaNo books are now published (Words That Bind and The Heartbeat Thief) so I know the power of inspiration and encouragement. That's why I want to try something completely new: armed with a solid plot outline, I want to harness the power of NaNoWriMo and see if I can get this book written. I have clear goals. I have full ideas.

All I need is the time to write it.

I have 30 days. Let's see if I can whip something up with those ingredients.

Writers: Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? I'm on as ashkrafton (http://nanowrimo.org/participants/ashkrafton) so look me up. Let's encourage each other for a month and see what all we get written.

Let's be writers. It's a wonderful word.


  1. I was actually thinking about the title question last night, just randomly, and thought, "I'm in publishing" had a nice, vague ring to it. Probably a little too vague, though.

    1. I know what you mean. It's so hard to find a word that does what we do actual justice. Maybe I should just start saying "Today, I'm a ________." Fill in the blank for whatever fits at the moment.


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