Friday, December 31, 2010

NaNo and Me

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo for short, is a great annual event that happens in November. The premise is quite simple: write a 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

For anyone who's just started on the road to being a writer, like myself, 50,000 words is a lot to write in only 30 days. For some, it may as well be 50 million words. But I wanted to challenge myself and hopefully come out of the ordeal as a better writer. At least, that was the plan.

Most writers that join NaNo have at least an outline of the story before they begin the actual novel. I thought it would be more interesting if I just started writing with a clean slate and just jump in. That was my first mistake. Every story idea that popped to my head just seemed ridiculous and trite.

When I finally decided to write something it was too little too late. I had procrastinated so badly that unless I could average 5000 words or more a day I would never meet the deadline. So, I gave up.

It wasn't my finest moment. In the process, I learned to greatly respect all the participants and especially those that were able to meet the goal. They've more than earned their bragging rights.

I must be a glutton for punishment because I plan on participating again in 2011. Next time I'll have a better and more realistic perspective before I begin. I'm not saying I'll be able to meet the goal of 50,000 words but I'm going to give it one hell of a try.

I thought you may be interested in reading what I  actually managed to write for NaNo this year. Keep in mind that this is completely unedited and I was going for quantity and not quality at that point. Still, it did give me a plot idea and hopefully I'll be able to continue this story in the future. Well, here is the whopping 280-word beginning of my unfinished story:

He crouched down with his back up against the chimney on the rooftop, clutching his ribs. They may have been broken but all he cared about was trying to control the severe pain. His attacker was slowly searching the rooftop and it would only be a matter of time before he was discovered.

“Come out, mien freund,” stated the tall stranger as he slid the blade of a large sword across a ventilation duct, making a screeching sound much like running nails on a black board.

“You can not hope to escape. Face your death like a man.”

The huge flashing neon sign that was attached to the side of the building intermittently illuminated the rooftop on a very dark, moonless night. It was during those moments of clarity that the injured stranger peered around the chimney to view his opponent. He was a tall man over 6 foot tall and dressed in a German military uniform, perhaps SS. His build was that of strong man in the circus, overly muscular and the clothing was tight on him. There was a scar across the side of his neck that was quite visible and dramatic. His hair was blonde and his chiseled face showed signs of a harsh life yet strangely young in appearance.

The German’s holster was empty but he held a military sword in his hand that shined brightly against the orange neon glow, apparently polished to perfection. He began to swing it from side the side as if warming up for a fight.

“I’m waiting.”


  1. I've never done the NaNo but I like what it does because it forces writers to simply WRITE and not overthink and agonize over every single word. You can't write and edit at the same time and a lot of writers short-circuit their brain trying to do so then wonder why they can't write. Editing is for later. The first draft is for one thing and one thing only: get that story written.

  2. I really liked what you wrote. Ever think about making a flash fic piece out of it?