Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NANOWRIMO and Future Serialized Fiction in my Blog

New years resolutions are coming early for me.
NANOWRIMO stands for the National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NANOWRIMO is to start and finish a first draft of a novel during the month of November. This is a great motivation tool for me, and has been very successful in the past. Over the past two years, I’ve written the first draft of the Fenian Avenger and The Order of the Benevolent Souls. As I reflected on what I was going to do this year, I realized that starting and finishing a first draft has never been a problem for me. I can do that in a matter of weeks with the right organization and thought. It’s finishing the second or final draft with editing that is the challenge.

I’ve recently purchased a book written by a friend of mine named Bobbie Christmas. The book is called Write in Style. The book is about editing and fixing grammar in a way that publishers and editors like. It approaches the concept from the Find command in a word processor. For example, look for the word “was” in your works and replace it with a stronger action word. Something simple like this is ingenious, as it finally connected what I needed to do.

However, I discovered that in a first draft novel, there is a HUGE amount of finding and replacing required bringing it up to speed. I’ve found that I’ll spend a couple of months writing a first draft – while my editing skills get cold, and then a couple of months editing it – while my writing skills get cold.

I’ve decided that I’m going to try something different this fall, hoping to keep both skills sharp (and potentially eliminate a lot of the editing I need to do). My NANOWRIMO project is not going to be a first draft, but finishing an edit in one month on a novel.

Many years ago, I wrote a short story called The Franklin Castle. Several years ago, I lengthened that story into a novel. Then a terrible thing happened in my attempt to keep my data safe. I saved the copy of the first draft of the novel on a jump drive, since I didn’t want to leave it on a work laptop. I thought I put that jump drive in a safe place. Maybe I did, but it didn’t stay there. When I went to look at that book to edit, I couldn’t find the drive. I looked everywhere; I could not find the device. That was over two years ago. One day about a month ago, my daughter Lexi was sitting in the front seat of my car, and reached down into the crack of the seat and removed that very jump drive. For two years it was nestled down with trash, crumbs, and French fries. I quickly inserted the drive, and there was the last version of the book.

I am going to turn that first draft into a final edit during the month of November.

In keeping with the resolution to keep both my writing and editing skills sharp, I’ve decided to use this blog to publish serialized fiction. Every week or two weeks, I plan to continue a storyline, adding a chapter at a time. This forces me to think ahead and have my plot down solid (because there will be no going back and editing what is already published), work the first draft a chapter at a time, and immediately edit that first draft for final publishing quality.

I’m really looking forward to the serialized fiction. I have one story line to start with, a secret group called The Green Trinity that I’ve referred to in a few other pieces of my work. I’m interested in establishing their back story, and then potentially moving forward to episodic fiction. I may include other works in this, for example, The Franklin Castle as that is finished in November may lend itself to presenting a chapter at a time.

I hope you all are able to follow along and I hope you’ll enjoy my work.

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