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NaNoWriMo – Take 5

So November is almost here again and that means NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month for those not in the know and NaNo for short. Every year, people around the world decide to write their novel including me. This will be the fifth time that I’m trying my hat at NaNo. It’s not that I can’t write novels throughout the rest of the year because I do. There’s just always been something that happens in the month of November that stopped me from finishing the novels I start.

This year I’m not only going to finish – I have an action plan, more on that later – but I’m doing something completely different. My usual novel genres are urban fantasy and scifi but it’s time to expand my horizons. This time I’m going for epic fantasy. It’s going to span the lives of two main characters with about twenty secondary characters and who knows how many tertiary characters. It’s not GRR Martin epic since it’ll be one book, but it’s going to be massive. It’s not just the scope that makes this so different for me but the entire tone. There will be no smartassery or light-hearted anything in this one, that’s for damn sure.

I wrote up character bios for everyone, which isn’t unusual. The 2 main characters bios ended up being three pages each, which is way longer than I’ve done before. Generally, my character bios are about 3-5 paragraphs tops not 3 pages each. It was, well, insane. I’m still astounded.

I’ve also written up each of the main “races” (species?) of the world, since I’m not going the traditional elf and dwarf route. I’ve created new beings with histories and enmities and it’s really very cool if I say so myself.

And, despite zero artistic abilities, I even put together a map so I know what kingdom is where and the various mountains/seas/forests that are involved. It’s taped to the wall over my kitchen table/desk where I’ll be able to see it while writing. (I tried to upload the awesomeness of my map, but the file wouldn’t load)

Last, but definitely not least, I put together the outline. The forty-five chapter plus epilogue outline. Holy God. And that’s just a rough outline. I stuck to my paragraph-per-chapter rule which leaves me a shit-ton of room for expansion and I have the extremely strong suspicion certainty that there will be lots of expansion going on in this one. Most of the time my outlines are pretty on the money, but this one is going to be so long I honestly have no idea what my word and chapter count will be when all is said and done.

Here is my Super Secret Action Plan:

  1. Come home from work.
  2. Eat dinner.
  3. Sit down in front of computer.
  4. Write for two hours every single night, more on the weekends.

This means that I will be disappearing from social media (and tv noooo!) for the month of November from about 7pm onwards each night. I will be posting my word count the following morning via twitter to keep you all apprised of how I’m doing. Now all that being said, I’m not going to stress about the word count itself. I’m so into this novel before it even begins that I’m fairly confident it’ll take care of itself.

Whether or not the book itself ends up any good is an entirely different thing. Wish me luck, because I’m going to need it. This one’s gonna hurt.


About Nancy M. Griffis

Author and screenwriter who loves scifi/action/adventure/urban fantasy genres. I have two published novels, Mind Games and Eternal Investigations, as well as a short story published for charity called "Home Fires Burning." All are available through amazon.com and barnesandnobles.com.


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Nancy at the Tim Burton exhibit in L.A.

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