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This is my old blog, which I no longer update. Feel free to browse around old posts and such, but the much more recent version of my ramblings are to be found at MarilynAnneCampbell.com

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Draft Dodging

Twice now I've participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an online challenge to motivate slacking writers to complete a 50,000 word novel in only the month of November.

In 2004 I took my first stab with a Young Adult novel that topped 50,000 words, but wasn't actually finished by that word count. Still, that's a victory by NaNoWriMo standards, and I had every intention to set about finishing the first draft soon, editing it soon after, and promptly sending my first book out into the world. But then it was Christmas, then there were New Yearish things, and then I fell into some sort of freakish time warp and it was November 2005.

'No problem', I told myself. 'Learn from your mistakes'.

In 2005 I made a point of being sure my new YA Sci-fi had a beginning, a middle AND an end. I only accomplished this however by writing a six-page chapter called "ABRIDGED", that begins with the sentence "From here on in, the following takes place". Then what was once intended to be exciting chapters of detailed, witty storytelling were boiled down to glorified point form notes.

Again, I had every intention of quickly fleshing those bits out, then reworking draft after draft until my book was so polished it gleamed.

This week, I noticed that it's September. The month before October, which immediately preceeds November, The Month of the Novel. It will be two years since I hammered out my first 50,000+ word manuscript, and there's nary a second draft in sight.

'Okay,' I thought, 'THIS November I'll take the spirit of NaNoWriMo and make it all about the edit, about finishing what I've started, and not about starting something n-'

And then it hit me. Something new. Like the new idea that's been rolling around in my head for the past three weeks. The new idea that by it's very nature is a perfect project for the NaNoWriMo rush.

Beyond the NaNoWriMo edits I have tons of other writing to do. Paying projects, even. And right now I have more non-writing work opportunites than I've had in a very long time. Starting another novel just a few short weeks from now would be the dumbest thing I've done in a long time.

Curse you, NaNoWriMo. Curse you and that horse named Novmeber you ride in on.


  1. I hope you finish your first novel, but even more so I hope you make the stupid mistake of starting a new one. As I surf the blogs, very few keep my attention for a whole post, especially when they are just talking about someone's daily life or inner-feelings. But this one is written very well.
    You get paid to write? Think I have a chance? Check out my blog at http://nateisablog.blogspot.com

  2. Hi Nate

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your kind words. I find a lot of blogs rather boring myself, so I'm glad to hear I held your attention. :)

    As for getting paid to write, it's a pretty new thing for me after years of writing for free/fun. So, having taken a look at your blog and the fact that you're in a comedy troupe, I'd say you have a chance, for sure.

    You could always try to write a whole novel in the month of November. I hear all the cool kids are doing it...

  3. I am in fact a gigantic fan of Stewart and Colbert. I had have their babies. Well, I wouldn't actually conceive a child with them...but I'd babysit for them, if the price was right.

    I'm gonna add a link to your blog on mine.

  4. As I have linked to you.