It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Fall is upon us and September is drawing to a close. Students are settled back into the routine of school and the leaves are slowly changing colours. Thousands of Canadians are already moaning about the coming winter. And yet with each passing day I get more excited, because fall to me is about more than going back to school and preparing for winter: fall is Nanowrimo season.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month, an annual challenge drawing people from all walks of life together to reach for a common goal: to write 50, 000 words of fiction in the month of November, or one completed novel. It’s a great way to stretch yourself as a writer and to buckle down and actually finish that novel draft–and believe you me, once you’ve finished the first one, all the other ones are just a little bit easier. As an eight year participant and seven year winner, I’m a firm believer in Nanowrimo’s power to turn a daydreamer into a novelist.

If you’d like to participate in Nanowrimo but you have no idea what you’d like to write about, you’re in the right place. This year I’m going to help you plan your Nanovel, with the help of several guests who are experienced Nanowrimo veterans–some of whom have even gotten their Nanovels published!

Each week this October we’ll be examining a different theme. Next week I’ll be featuring three posts on the theme of idea creation, each one with a short writing exercise to help you brainstorm novel ideas. The week after that we’ll talk about characterization, followed by world building and in the last week of October final preparations–including the non-writing related things you should do before locking yourself up for a month with the goal of writing 50, 000 words.

This weekend, think about your writing goals and your career goals. Think about the dreary month of November, when it’s really getting cold and you don’t want to be outside anyway. Think about the novel you’ve always wanted to write but have put on the backburner while you give more profitable or simpler projects more attention. Then ask yourself a question: why not spend the month of November trying to turn your crazy, obscure idea into 50, 000 words of fiction?