In October 2008, I was preparing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’d storyboarded a romantic suspense and cleared my calendar.
The Wednesday before November 1, I was hit with this visual (during a social studies lesson on Jane Long) of a woman in a fort who sees a lone rider approaching, and the man falls from his horse. The idea wouldn’t let me go. No way was I going to be able to be passionate about the plotted book when this one had its hooks in me. The thing was, I hadn’t done research, I had never written a historical. How was I going to write 1667 words a day?
The idea of dropping out of NaNo NEVER occurred.
So I researched as I went. I’d read plenty of historicals so I knew the tone. I know my Texas history pretty well, and my little brother is part of the local library’s Texana group. So I went. And I wrote 50,000 words of Sunrise during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t write the ending, but a good bulk of it.
I love NaNoWriMo. I love the competition with myself. I love the competition with friends. I love the pure abandon of putting writing first. I love writing rough drafts, so this exercise is great for me. I’ve participated for 4 years now. The first year was so much fun. I wrote a book that will never see the light of day. The guy I planned to be the hero isn’t, and the guy I planned to be the villain became the hero. The story would wake me up in the morning, and I reached my goal a week early. I loved writing that book, but it’s a mess.
The second year I tried a paranormal. Something is missing in that book. I BARELY made 50,000 words on November 30 (I think it was 50,002.) There were some interesting parts, but it was a lot harder to write, and I did something weird when I hit a wall, and..ugh.
Which is why I plotted out that romantic suspense I was going to write when Trace rode right into my head and fell off his horse. I’m so glad he did.
What’s neat is, I contracted my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel with Carina, too!