In case you don’t know, Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to complete a 50k words novel in the month of November. Like a beginner in a marathon, this is your own race. The good thing is, participating in Nanowrimo (nanowrimo.org) means you are part of a worldwide group of like-minded writers who have taken up this challenge. An added advantage is that there will be lots of motivation online to egg you on. Every few days, we get pep talks from famous writers on why we shouldn’t give up. My buddy (who took up the challenge last year) was there to guide me and encourage me. There is even a Singapore Nanowrimo club which held start-up party and celebratory party at the National Library, plus many write-in at public places where you meet your local members.
November is my birthday month, which made it double challenging for me to squeeze time in to write at least 1667 words per day in between all the lunch and dinner treats I usually get at this time of the month from friends. What made it even more testing is that a couple and a close friend were having problem which required my intervention. Added to that, my aunt left her job after three decades in October and decided to take up baking. For that, I received at least five calls a day from her, ranging from how to buy mixer and baking tins, to kneading doughs to shaping strawberries into hearts. Another close friend also left her long time job and was very free. Unfortunately I was not.
Then there is the PSLE. I am not the expert, but with a son who had just taken PSLE last year, friends with kids who took PSLE this year valued my opinions and there were lots of calls as to the schools of choice.
With all the pressure, I was very stressed. I would snap when my sons asked for meal while I am in the middle of typing, or grumbled when Aaron hovered around as he wanted to use the PC too. (Like now!)
November 2012 was a difficult month. But guessed what? I finished my 50k words (with an extra 1k) and November 2012 is looking great. What was it that psychologists say? To be able to complete a daunting task really does boost one’s self-esteem.
But like running a 42K marathon, the journey was long and tiresome, and at times, the idea of giving up was just so attractive. I don’t know if I want to do it again next year.
And oh, people had been asking me what my novel was about. Well, I took my inspiration from the Mandarin version of Korean song ‘That Man’. A friend who had finished reading E L James challenged me to do a version. My novel, ‘That Man’ can be described as a main of Maeve Binchy, with a side of Nicholas Spark, plus a dash of hot E L James. (I am too shy with explicit details!)
In the middle of my novel, I read my synopsis and realized the story had all changed. What I had studied five years ago with The Writing Bureau had all been thrown out. Other than doing the main characters’ analysis, my sub characters were added on half way. That created a problem when I couldn’t recall the names later and had to scroll back to search.
I also learned that I wrote in blocks of about 1500 words and would go into a blank. I needed a few hours break before I could write the next block.
My novel was completed yesterday morning. Knowing that I had only 2000 words left made me rush through the ending. Now I know what some critics say about pacing and why some writers (or movie makers for that matter) have bad pacing. I just wanted to complete the 50k and be done.
We were advised not to do any editing during the month of writing. I appreciated that piece of advise, because once you get into an editing mode, there is no end to the amount of corrections and editions.
My next task, the most difficult one, is to edit. But, that can wait. For now, I’ll just celebrate the end of this journey.