National Novel Writing Month

The month of November is National Novel Writing Month, and this year I'm participating for the first time. I'll be writing my second Isabel Wilde novel (as yet untitled).

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You may be asking why I would start another novel when I haven't even finished the first? For a few reasons, actually. I'm editing the first novel now, and believe me when I say it's hard and tedious work. I miss the fancy-free process of writing a first draft. I just don't have the brain power necessary to spend eight hours a day editing, so the second novel will act as a kind of supplement to that.

I'm also hoping that the writing I do for the second will aid me in editing the first. Any opportunity I have to get to know Isabel and her cohorts is an opportunity to enhance the first book and all subsequent books.

Even though I have a first novel, which has so far been written as the first in the series, being unpublished means it might not end up being the first in the series upon publication. My goal is to get published, and whichever book is the best will be the one that gets to submitted to agents. It is quite common for authors to write several novels prior to getting their first novel published, and the initial ones never see the light of day. I'd hate to think that all the work I'm doing on Diary of Bedlam is for naught, but the fact of the matter is that right now I'm learning how to write a novel. That means lots of mistakes and lots of bad writing. If Diary of Bedlam never gets published, it's okay because it will have been the stepping stone for the book that does get published.

One thing I've learned over the last year of writing primarily fiction is that writing and constructing a full-length novel that anyone would want to read is the hardest thing I've ever done. I have so much respect for the writers, even ones I consider mediocre, who do it.

Hey, what about you? Do you have a novel inside of you? Get writing in November and share the fun (and misery).

Holly West

6 Comments

  1. This sounds like a good idea. I think I am going to try it too. As far as writing a second book while you’re editing your first, I think that’s a good idea also. Like you mentioned, it will allow you to take a break from the job of re-writing for awhile and develop your series further. I think having a second book in the works will make selling a series a little easier… it shows you’re committed to making it more than a stand alone.
    “Of the first seven novels I wrote, numbers four and five were published. Numbers one, two, three, six, and seven, have never seen the light of day…and rightly so. The eighth novel I wrote was ‘A’ IS FOR ALIBI.” – Sue Grafton

  2. Yay! I hope you do it. When you sign up, buddy me (hollywest). Mick might do it too. And I love the quote by Sue. I think of that often just to remind myself I’m in this for the long haul.

  3. If I can set aside some real time, after wading thru the muck of papers I have to grade, I’m going to tackle this, too in November.
    In the meantime, it’s snapshots, vignettes, chapters…scattered writing, but writing nonetheless.

  4. Mick is doing it too. I have no idea how Im gonna get 50K words, but Im gonna try. With travel in November, I figure I have about 20 writing days available, which means 2500k a day.

  5. Thanks for your comment. I have (so far) been very dedicated to my nanowrimo word count, but since Im ahead I did take a day off yesterday. I look forward to reading your blog about the experience.

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