My first book, Sword of the Guardian, was written mostly during Nanowrimo… in 2004, believe it or not. I’d started it a little before November, and had to continue writing through most of December to finish it, but the first draft was completed in approximately six or seven weeks. It then took a full year to edit before it could be released, of course, seeing as how it was my first book and I had a LOT of growth to do as a writer, and a lot of polishing to do to the manuscript to make it fit for public consumption. :P
I have realized, with very deep shame, that it has been SIX YEARS since. And though I have managed to write another book and a couple of short stories since then, the world of Ithyria has been sadly neglected. I have lots of excuses… oh so very many, from buying a house and getting married to all the home-improvement projects and career changes that have been going on in the past six years. Nonetheless, the fact remains that poor Ithyria has been sitting on my back burner for far too long.
In the past couple months I’ve been steadily chipping away at it again, and making quite a bit of progress, too — though most of that progress is intangible, just a sorting out of ideas. Vital, absolutely, but still not anything of actual substance or production. So, I’m going to see what I can do about trying to make this year’s Nanowrimo the kick in the pants that I need to get the book done. (Of course, I don’t really get to say I’m doing Nanowrimo, since I’m not following any of Nano’s rules… but I figure it’s still not a bad idea to get some help in setting goals for myself.)
As of a couple days ago, I have three chapters of the next book finished. What I don’t have finished yet is a satisfying outline of the full novel, though it’s slowly, slooooooooowly coming along. I usually like to keep track of my progress in chapters, which is difficult when I’m still not yet entirely clear on how many chapters there are going to be. (At this point I’m estimating somewhere around 18?) What I do know, however, is that I definitely have a word-count limit. The original manuscript for SotG was nearly 180,0000 words, shaved down to somewhere around 130,000 in the finished product if I remember correctly. Branded Ann was much tighter at around 106,000. I don’t think I’ll be able to get away with another 130K word manuscript with this second book, but I also know that the plot is complex enough that it will likely require more than 100K to do it justice.
So I’m setting my goal, for now, at somewhere around 115,000 words. With nearly 22K finished right now, that gives me 93000 to finish (how sad is it that right now that sounds like nowhere near enough?!!) Nano asks writers to come up with 50K words in 30 days — approximately 1600 words per day. It won’t finish the book off entirely, but it would take me more than halfway there if I could pull it off. With my work schedule I still don’t know for sure if I’ll be able to fit in enough time for writing, but I’m going to give it my darnedest, anyway.
So bring it on, November!