VOA staffers preview their National Novel Writing Month projects

As November fast approaches, some of us here at VOA are sharpening our pencils (and er, iPads) and getting ready for NaNoWrimo – National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWrimo takes a fun, energetic approach to creative writing—it gives our literary ambitions, however amateur, a public dimension.

It sets a high bar for quantity. The Goal of NaNoWrimo is to produce 50,000 words in the month of November. Last year 310,000 people from across the globe, from newbies to best-selling authors, registered their novels and wrote.

Writing, that’s what NaNoWriMo is about. It encourages participants to simply write. No editing, no angst, no worrying if anyone else will read the final text. Even if one falls short of 50,000 words, the point is that one has put the proverbial pen to paper.

Participants write books of every type and genre, ranging from a tell-all of their college days to a new murder mystery to the history of architecture.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo through a self-published author I found on Amazon. She had started her novel during NaNoWriMo, loved where the plot was going, finished it and was encouraged by friends to publish it.

Finally a year ago, after years of witnessing friends, roommates, coworkers and others joining in, I took the plunge. Each November since, I find myself writing during lunch breaks, commutes, while watching TV, trying to fall asleep or traveling… and while everyone else is fighting over the wishbone at Thanksgiving.

This year, I’m writing about a woman who moves to a farm in Vermont after her family dies in a car accident. It is gritty and intense at times, with some laugh-out-loud moments to break the tension. Never underestimate the power of a supporting character! Best of all, it reconnects me with fall in New England.

A handful of us at VOA are participating this year. Here’s what we’re planning.

Kevin Krejca plans to write “In Avoidance of Death,” a hard-boiled crime novel.
Born to survive a world where easy is the only answer, Burk grew up fast on the South Side of Chicago. He learned how to make friends and was a natural leader. But if he was going to break out of the caste he was born into, he would have to break the rules. An incidental comment from a friend about an armored truck pick-up routine and his life on the path of picking off easy targets became a reality. The only thing he didn’t count on was letting easy make him careless. Now he has to decide if survival is worth the effort.

Terri Gorman is writing about friendship, loss, hospitality (spoiler alert) and healing.
I’m intrigued with the idea of this writing challenge and think it will be cool to attempt it.  I’ve fleshed out some characters and have a timeline outlined. I’m still figuring out the setting.  I’m sure it will take on a life of its own once I get started. It’s constantly changing in my mind. Saturday can’t come soon enough.

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