Am I crazy to think I can write a novel in one month (read: 30 days)?
I discovered something just recently. November is National Novel Writing Month, and there is an international movement called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that encourages writers to write a novel with at least 50,000 words within the month of November (www.nanowrimo.org)! That translates to around 1,666 words per day. Apparently this movement has been in existence for a while now. People hunker down and write. If you go past 50,000 words on or before 30 November, you WIN. No one will review your novel and it is up to you what to do with the novel afterwards (I’m sure it will benefit from a lot of editing and rewriting), but November is for WRITING. It basically forces everyone to think and write and write and write. Quantity first, quality check later. For writers, this is a good exercise since most of the time, it is the act of writing consistently that is difficult to do. This event basically forces you to do so. And with a good support system and many people doing the same, it becomes a fun endeavour too. There is even a “chapter” in Manila and we get to have these like-minded individuals closer to home, having the same objectives.
November 2014 is one busy month for me, work-wise, as we enter the System Integration Testing for the 3 countries we are implementing Workday to Payroll integrations to – Malaysia, India and Singapore – so I do not have any slack time during office hours. It is also full, family and others-wise. However, a part of me was intrigued and before I knew it, I was already signing up, and encouraging friends to do the same. Actually, I thought about it really hard, because I had no idea what I was going to write. I bounced around some ideas in my head and then I saw a few pages of a short story I wrote while I was travelling to and from China for work last year. It was a simple story, with a great twist and I thought it would make for an interesting novel, since I have a chance to put in more characters and more conflict. It started almost like an autobiography with a bit of “what if” thrown in for good measure, but as I fleshed out the story, it became something altogether interesting. I am not sure how it will end and I am excited to go on the journey to see how it will develop as I write.
So now, whatever free time I have, I spend on refining my plans and characters and plot and chapter outlines. There are barely 5 days left before I have to start writing and recording my word count on a daily basis. This is crazy…but crazy interesting and something I just would like to do!
Along with the writing of the novel, I will also use this as an opportunity to make good on my commitment to the 10 people I said I will do something creative for this year (10-4-10-4-2014), meaning, each one will be a character in my novel! I have started getting in touch with them, threshing out what characters they want to play, and me trying to find their rightful place in the story that I have in my mind. So far, so good. Of the 10, I have received 7 concrete characterizations that I have already incorporated in my outline. Of the remaining 3, I also know where they fit, and I just need to flesh out some of the details.
So, 5 more days before the bell sounds and we have to write. I am writing this down because I want to complete this and basically announcing it to all forces me to go through with it, no chickening out mid-way. It will be hard (many do not complete 50,000 words within the month), but a lot keep coming back, year after year after year. This is my first year and I intend to WIN. So bring on the late nights and the mood swings, I’ll make sure I have enough Coca-Cola and junk food to sustain me through this.
Below is the Novel Synopsis I posted on the Nanowrimo website:
Sandra “Sandy” Garcia lives a relatively uneventful, albeit busy life, as a 40-something working mother of three, juggling the demands of being a wife, a multi-national project manager and mother to a teenager, a 6 year old and a toddler. Increasingly though, she is starting to regret the fact that she never really had the time to focus on her passions as her life had always left her no room for her own personal endeavors. This is also starting to strain her relationships with her husband, her eldest daughter and her friends.
Alex Marquez lives a very eventful life. She is a multi-awarded multi-media personality–theatre actress and singer, writer and photographer. She has fulfilled her every passion in life and just recently, she just gave birth to a child in her forties, a belated start to the family she never had the time to focus on in her pursuit of her dreams. She is a single mother to a toddler, with the world still at her feet even if she has gone on semi-retirement. Yet, at times she feels she started too late on her family and she fears she is being selfish bringing a child into the world to satisfy her own desires.
As both women grapple with their regrets and existential questions, a near plane crash brings their lives inexplicably together. Alex and Sandy were both injured in the accident and as they woke up in the hospital, they discovered they were thrust into another person’s life. What they didn’t know was that they have switched lives. As they continue to digest and accept what has happened to them, they discover one other thing. They share the same memories for the first 19 years of their lives, but one decision made differently sent them on totally different tracks for the next 25 years.
How will each woman fare trying to live a life she didn’t choose when she was 19? How will this experience help them face their current demons? And the most important question is…will they ever be able to go back to their own lives?