NANOWRIMO-Ever wanted to write a novel? Java Joe’s Come Write In
I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for nearly 15 years, and for the 3rd consecutive year, Java Joe’s is going to be Come Write In Location!
If you have never heard of NaNoWriMo, you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about, and if that is even a real word.
According to their website, www.nanowrimo.org:
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
Beginning in October of each year, if you decide to participate in National Novel Writing Month, you register for free on their website. They are a non-profit organization, but you can donate and buy cool t-shirts and mugs if you would like to help, but you don’t have to.
After you register, and give your novel a working title, it is usually a good idea to decide on your daily goal. It works out to a little over 1600 words a day. On average, from my experience, that is 6-7 double spaced pages a day, if you use Times New Roman or Courier fonts (easiest to read) at about 12 point, which gives you, on average, 250 words per page.
Now, if you are like me, no matter how hard you try, there is going to be a day or two where you just can’t knock out 1667 words. Family obligations, illness, work, or plain old writers block. My answer to that is a personal goal of 10 pages, or 2500 words a day, so that I can give myself a little leeway, and I am not writing around the clock the last 3 days, just to meet my goal of finishing.
Sometimes during the process, it just means getting words to paper. The goal for some may be a fully spell-corrected, grammatically perfect edited masterpiece at the end of 30 days, but for the rest of us, it is to crank out that word count.
That is why October is important. Think about your plot, your story line, your scenes. Who are your characters? What is their motivation, what drives them to do the things they do? What are their goals? What, or who is stopping them, or getting in their way? What is the big clash or climax that makes it seem impossible for them to reach their goal? How do they get past it and reach a successful ending to their quest?
Who are their supporters, their nemesis or enemies that are in the way of their goal? What internal force makes them want it so badly that they will do anything to see it through?
Where are they? What are their surroundings? Rural life? Big city? Museums? Barns? Real Estate Developer or Cowboy? Business woman or cafe owner? Rich, poor, young, old?
None of those particulars matter more than others for your novel to be written, but knowing your characters, really knowing everything about them, makes writing about them easier.
I always try to have at least a short synopsis, or paragraph or two about what my book will be about decided by the first part of October. I will then jot down a loose outline, if particular scenes come to mind. It helps to end up with an outline that makes chronological sense for your story.
Write at least a few paragraphs about each main character. Your hero and heroine, if it is a romance novel. Describe them as fully as possible.
For example: Duke is long and lean, no one could ever mistake him for a city boy. His jeans are what the phrase “Wrangler butts drive me nuts” was written about. His skin, tan and golden, his eyes as blue as the sky, and just a few curls of golden blonde topped his ears from the bottom of his Farm All cap. A star baseball player in high school, everyone thought Duke would leave Mayberry for the Major Leagues. He and Mary Ellen had their lives all planned out. He would make them rich playing baseball, and she would stay home and take care of their babies.
But all that changed the day that Duke’s father was found impaled by a pitchfork in the family’s silo. Duke had to leave the team to keep his family’s farm from going under, he left school all together, and he left Mary Ellen. She deserved so much more in life than living with a struggling farmer. His Mama needed him now, his Granddaddy was too old to run the farm on his own, and Duke could not let four generations of Ledbetter land be lost. His great-great Grandfather had moved his family to this homestead, and they had lived off of that land for generations. Duke was not going to let his generation be the one to let all of his family’s work be for nothing. As his parents only child, there was no one else to see it through. Duke would man-up and take care of his family. – Now, I would write a couple of paragraphs about Duke’s great-great grandparents, his grand parents, and his parents, maybe even a neighbor or two, then move on to Mary Ellen.
Mary Ellen, olive skinned with raven hair that she kept swept back in a pony tail most days-a few tendrils always seeming to fall perfectly beside her Caramel brown eyes. Eyelashes so long and thick that when she smiled at Duke, even as 6th graders, reminded him of a beautiful poised doe. They became fast buddies when Mary Ellen’s family moved to Mayberry. Her Daddy opened the big new feed store, and they had everything a country boy would ever need there. Saddles and tack, feed and fertilizer, even sweet chirping chicks in the spring. Walton’s Supply was nothing like the old dusty feed store that Duke’s family had been buying from for generations. It was well lit with wide aisles, and everything looked so-well, clean. Not like any other feed store he had ever seen.
Duke’s Daddy, Buck, suspected it wasn’t the fancy new feed store that had intrigued his son the way he described. It probably had a lot more to do with Mr. Walton’s youngest, Mary Ellen.
Duke was quick to offer to show Mary Ellen around school, and she fit in perfectly with all of the guys, she was quite the tomboy. A beautiful tomboy, but a tomboy nonetheless.
As the years passed, Duke and Mary Ellen grew closer, and she became less of a friend, and more like the woman Duke knew he wanted to marry. She was strong, hard-working and smart as a whip. President of their senior class, class favorite, most-likely to marry Duke Ledbetter, and the recipient of the town’s Fair-Day scholarship.
Mary Ellen never planned on using that scholarship, she planned on baking pies for Duke and taking care of their family. Three kids, two boys and a girl, that’s what they had dreamed about since they were freshmen. When they first knew that they would always be together. Mary Ellen took pride in her school work, and straight A’s came easy to her, but she did not need a college education to bake pies and change diapers.
When Duke’s father was killed, she felt Duke’s pain, she knew how much family meant to him. She stood by his side through the funeral and the weeks afterward.
Duke started becoming more and more withdrawn. He went right home after school to start working, and even quit answering her phone calls. When she went to his house, he wouldn’t even come out of the fields long enough to say hello. Then he quit coming to school altogether. There were only 5 more months until their graduation. Baseball season started up and Duke never even showed up to the first practice. He had given up on school, on baseball and on Mary Ellen.
Mary Ellen graduated at the top of their class, and as she gave her speech, she just knew Duke would be there to congratulate her, but he was nowhere to be seen.
Lost without Duke, Mary Ellen didn’t really know what she wanted to do with her life, but she knew the pain would never end if she stayed and worked at Walton’s with her father. Duke still came in on a regular basis, but there was no longer any life left in his eyes. He ordered his feed, and drove his pickup around to the back to be loaded without barely a nod toward Mary Ellen.
“I’m going to New York, Dad,” Mary Ellen stated matter-of-factly. “New York?” her father was surprised, this seemed to come out of nowhere. He knew his daughter had been lost and heartbroken since Duke had ended their relationship, but he never thought Mary Ellen would want to be in a large city, especially as far away as New York. “Yep, New York. I applied at Cornell University, and was accepted into their School of Business. With my scholarship and a part-time job I will be fine, and I will be back in 5 years to help you run this place.”
Her mind was made up, and she left the next morning.
OK…so now we know a little about Duke and his family, a little about Mary Ellen and her story, and we now need to write 49,000 more words about the things that happen in their lives before they live happily ever after.
I would outline a few scenes from their childhood, together, and with friends and family. The incident/death and struggles. Dig into Dukes pain, and Mary Ellen’s feelings of betrayal. His farming, her family, another tragedy, a coming back together, an apparent big change in her, a fight, another departure, and finally a happily ever after. That’s my goal, anyway.
What is your story about? Why don’t you give NaNoWriMo a try? Is there any reason why this is not your year to write a novel? Thousands of NaNoWriMo novels have been published! It is a fun goal to set for yourself, and we have a quiet space ready for you!
Java Joe’s is an official NaNoWriMo Come Write In Location, we have plenty of chairs, plugs, and free wifi! You can write in a notebook like JK Rowling did when waiting the Harry Potter series in her local coffee shop. You can write on you tablet, or bring your laptop. Whatever is best for you, just come join us in the fun that is known as NaNoWriMo!-Terri