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Preparing For Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, In November

Last year at this time, I was deep into writing Book 1, REMOVED. I already had the first few drafts done and was working on a pretty major revision, really honing those characters, making them pop off the page. I remember sitting and writing every day. I carved out time to work while my oldest was in preschool and my youngest was napping. I even snuck in revisions while they were watching Sesame Street (I’m really good at blocking out the noise). Not to mention working nights and weekends. In mid-October, I was still chipping away. I brought my computer with me to Rhinebeck, NY and worked on it when I was not at the NY Sheep and Wool festival. When November came around, I was done and taking a breather before I jumped into Book 2 later that month.

It’s hard to believe that was almost a year ago! And I remember when NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, happened in November, I thought, “Well, damn! I just finished this book and need a break!” So I didn’t participate. This year, I’m in a completely different place. I have an agent, my lovely hard-working agent, Maggie O’Connor, who is submitting REMOVED around to publishers, I’ve just finished a major revision of Book 2, and Book 3 waits in the wings.

People, I love writing. Really and truly. And I’d keep writing these stories forever even if the books never got picked up. Honestly. The world consumes me. I think about it night and day. I draw maps and think about every character’s past, their dreams, their inner thoughts. It’s fair to say that I know them all as if they were my best friends or family.

And I don’t want it to end. It’s scary to think of it ending. The more I write, the closer to the end I get (though I think this could last me at least 10-15 years). So why rush RIGHT NOW, right? Why go straight to Book 3, if Book 1 is still making the rounds?

Enter NaNoWriMo, the goal of which is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I argue that’s novella length in my book, but regardless, you can tell a whole story in 50k words easy. I’ve been thinking a lot about my world in Book 1. If you’ve read it, and some of you have, you’ll know I wrote it in first person, present tense. I wanted to tell the whole story through Sanaa’s eyes. I wanted my readers to see things from her perspective. That’s not to say that I didn’t think about what every other character was doing during that story. Jiro, Mark, Mariko, Miko, Yoichi, Helena. I thought about them all. Where they were going, what they were doing, what they were feeling. Everything influenced Sanaa whether you saw it or not.

So, there’s a story, MULTIPLE stories, behind Sanaa’s story, and it’s time I told them.

My challenge for NaNoWriMo is to tell the story of Book 1, third person omniscient, from the viewpoints of the main men in my story: Jiro and Mark. I can’t wait to show my readers what motivated Jiro, what kept him from sharing with Sanaa until she wore him down. He’s my hero in more ways than one. And Mark, he has such a complicated past and it motivated a lot of his secrecy in Book 1. I can’t wait to unearth the conversations he has with Jiro and Jiro’s mother and father.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? What are you planning on writing about? I’m looking for motivational buddies, so if you are too, find me over on the NaNoWriMo site!

S. J. Pajonas