This article contains a summary of Mercia McMahon's efforts in National Novel Writing Month (November) or Camp NaNoWriMo (April and July). National Novel Writing Month has been running since 1999 as an internet based peer pressure activity to persuade reluctant novelists to prove that they can write a 50,000 word novel in one month. It inspired me towards completing my first published novel Seattle in Shorts (2014), although the short novel Speaking of Men (2015) had been written during National Novel Writing Month 2010. Camp NaNoWriMo offers a more relaxed approach, where participants can write non-fiction as well and choose their own word-count target.
I abandoned my National Novel Writing Month project to produce Declining Eternity, the sequel to Preserving Eternity in a month. This was because it was forcing me to write fiction, when my business plan suggested that I needed to write my long promised non-fiction book on using Drupal for web design. I made the decision to drop out of National Novel Writing Month on 19th November, the day that Drupal 8 was released to the public. The effort on Declining Eternity was, however, worthwhile. It taught me that the planned six book series was over ambitious and that the project would be tighter and more consistent with Preserving Eternity as a trilogy of three parts. Declining Eternity and the Fumetsu Cycle series has not been cancelled, just the writing of it during National Novel Writing Month 2015.
I wrote 57,000 words for the first draft of Preserving Eternity in a month. It was later edited down to 53,000 words and published in November 2015.
I won NaNoWriMo in 2013, and so did thousands of others. In mid October I thought of an idea for a novel that was based around short stories set in Seattle and chose to adopt it as my National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWriMo] existing project. Despite two years of rebellion that mainstream project, designed to appease agents and publishers, languished at around the 8000 word mark. On my best writing day of 13 November 2013 I wrote 5000 words in a single day, more than 50% of my output in the previous three years up to 31 October. In part this was down to the camaraderie of the Capitol Hill write-in for NaNoWriMo, partly it was because I had spent a lot of money travelling to Seattle to write the novel, but mostly it was because I was writing for me, not for an agent, and I was writing the weird literary fiction that I wanted to publish. I enjoy reading mainstream fiction, but I cannot be motivated to write more than a few thousand words of it. I was going to be away two days for Thanksgiving / Chanukah / Day of Mourning and so I rushed to finish before 28 November. I actually finished the novel on 25 November, but it was only 48500 words of the required 50000. It took until the following lunch-time to hit the magic 50000 mark. I did not beat anyone to win NaNoWriMo, other than my self-doubt, my procrastination, and my hatred of writing mainstream fiction. I am now in the process of doing further editing on my completed novel, Seattle in Shorts.
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