Getting Ready for NaNo

I sold an ebook on Amazon this weekend.

(One day, I’ll be happy to see 100 books sold… every day. But, for now, I’m happy when I sell one every two weeks.)

National Novel Writing Month is coming up (the month of November). If you’re planning on participating, or are already slogging your way through creating a novel, you might get some use out of this blog post: 25 Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Next Novel

I guess I should spend an hour cleaning up my desk and around it before I start on my NaNo project this year: that dystopian story of a world without creativity. (By the way, witch hazel on a Q-tip is a good way to clean gunk off your keyboard.)

Speaking of a world in which independent thought is crushed, here’s an article a friend shared on Facebook: A talented head cook at a school in central Sweden has been told to stop baking fresh bread and to cut back on her wide-ranging veggie buffets because it was unfair that students at other schools didn’t have access to the unusually tasty offerings.

Yes, you read that right. A lunch lady actually cooks food that kids like and gets them to eat more vegetables–and does it all on budget!–and she’s being told to stop because it’s not fair to kids who have sucky food.

Um, why wouldn’t you convene a lunch lady assembly and have her give workshops on how to implement her changes? Why wouldn’t you bring everyone else up to a better standard instead of pulling her (and her school) back down to mediocrity?

Because independent thought is a bad thing.

You must not deviate from the government’s menu plan, because a government committee can make decisions about children’s food better than any woman who is a professional cook and sees the results of her endeavors on the faces of children every day.

My dystopian story will definitely include cafeteria food organized by government committee. And my underground art community will secretly cook daring things! They’ll put pepper in vanilla ice cream and deep fry Snickers bars and pickles.

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4 comments on “Getting Ready for NaNo

  1. Wallace says:

    Glad you sold another book. How many does that make now? I haven’t seen you post any numbers since the first report you made when it first came out.

    I’m thinking about trying the NaNoWriMo this year. I take it that it has to be a novel and one should write every day. You’ve done this before, how big were your novels? Did you have much trouble getting to write something every day or did you skip days and just write when you could?

    • Keri Peardon says:

      My grand total is 16 sales. I’ve also had 15 people download a sample from Smashwords. Only 85 more sales to go to break that 100 threshold! (80% of all published books sell less than 100 copies.)

      Re NaNo: The goal is 50,000 words, so if you write the minimum, you wind up with a novelette.

      By way of comparison, contemporary romance and YA tends to be about 60,000 words; historical romance is about 75,000. Most debut novels (for adults) run in the 100,000-110,000 word range (mine is 109,000 words–down from my first draft high of about 130,000). Science fiction and fantasy tend to be the longest novels, running 120,000 words to 140,000 words. All of these numbers are generally considered the maximum that readers of that genre will support. It’s generally easier to have a successful book that’s shorter than one that’s longer. (Although, according to Smashwords, longer books are actually more popular; it’s possible that traditional publishing has been forcing books to be too short.)

      You need to write, on average, 1,666 words per day to hit your 50,000 goal. I checked my second book and found that a standard 8.5×11″ page averages 550-650 words, depending on how much dialog you have (I tend to be heavy on the dialog). That works out to 3 pages per day. Which, when you put it that way, sounds totally doable.

      When I wrote Acceptance during the 2009 NaNo, I probably wrote 80,000 words–maybe more. I was unemployed at the time, and I really didn’t do anything but write. Not all of those words went into Acceptance, though; some went into book two. I wrote without any plan or plot outline (I’m such a rebel), so, as my book started to come together, I realized that some things needed to be moved into a sequel. When I did Flames of Prague last year, I ended up with something like 78,000 words, although I will confess I started writing it 3 days early (I was afraid if I waited any longer, I’d forget all the great ideas in my head!). I did all of that while working a full-time job and spending an hour and half commuting every day. So it’s certainly possible to NaNo even while working and having a life.

      I probably wrote every single day, except maybe on Thanksgiving, when we went to visit Stuart’s family. But even while I was riding in the car, I was mentally plotting (the book, not against him or his family).

      I’m still not sure if the story I’m going to do this year will turn into a novel or not; it may wind up a novella or novelette. But I’m not worried if it does. I’ll just spend the balance of November editing and proofreading it. I’d like to get one more novella published before the end of the year. If it winds up a novel, I’ll have to figure out where it goes into my publishing schedule.

      • Wallace says:

        Thanks for the advice, I’ll have to think about what I want to write for NaNo. It does seem, tho, if I want to write the Great American Novel, I’ll need to write about 3,400 words a day, or the equivalent of a new short story evey day for a month.

      • Keri Peardon says:

        Either that, or you pace yourself and write 50,000 words in November, then again in December.

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