NaNoWriMo? No, NaNoTyPo!


I have wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo for many years. I even actually started, once, five years ago, but life interfered. Between health issues, financial issues, and my teaching career, November has never been the month to launch into a 50,000 word rough draft.


What I love about NaNoWriMo

  • I love the opportunity it provides to focus intensely on writing a work of fiction. “Look, I made a commitment,” translates to “Yes! I get to spend every day in the month of November crafting fiction!”
  • I love how it establishes an overall goal that can be broken into segments to be completed over the full thirty days of November.
  • I love that participants get to emerge in December with a hefty chunk of work completed.

Why I’m Not Participating in NaNoWriMo

I know many people manage to work full-time and complete NaNoWriMo; however, between health issues and my job, I know it would not be wise to push myself to do so.

Also, I have been engaged in the process of doing a major revision on a novel. The revisions are now done. However, because I truly am a more effective reviser when I do it, pencil on manuscript page, I am now slogging through entering all the changes. I want to be done; I need to be done (because I stopped in the middle of drafting two other novels to do the revision, and I am eager to get back to them.

My Solution? NaNoTyPo

  • I have counted up how many pages of revisions still need to be entered.
  • I have counted up both weekdays and weekends remaining in November.
  • I have assigned a page count of revisions entered for the remaining days of the month.

Twirl three times on your toes.
Presto change-o
Here she goooooes!

I have my very own writing related, segmented, limited time for completion challenge.

And when I’m done? My revised novel can go back on submission, and I can finish writing those other two drafts. (And will I ever, in the future draft two new novels at the same time? Not if memory and sanity remain with me.)

How About You?

Are you feeling just a little bit left out because NaNoWriMo wasn’t in the cards for you this year?

What kind of November challenge can you devise for yourself that will bring satisfaction. I’d love to hear about it. Maybe it will inspire some of us in setting a unique November 2017 challenge for ourselves.

Or maybe, just maybe…November 2017 will be my month to NaNoWriMo!


On Revision…Oh, Ice Cream, Where art Thou?

I am in the midst of revisions right now. At this particular moment in time, it feels like the process will never come to an end. So, I thought I’d better remind myself of this quote I love from Katherine Paterson:

I love revision. Where else in life can spilled milk be transformed into ice cream?

Oh, ice cream…here I come!

Cherry Ice Cream

Revising: Tighten your Text/Play With Your Words Writing Prompt #44

Freewrite a page on any topic, any genre, or select a page from something you have recently written but not fully edited and revised.

Count how many words on this particular page. Divide that total by ten.

Now go over the page and cut that number of words from the text. Yes. Cut 10%.

There are sneaky little things you can do like:

  • cross out the words “that” and “then” wherever possible
  • change passive to active voice (instead of, “She was going to the store,” write, “She drove to the store)
  • get rid of unnecessary adjectives or adverbs by using more precise nouns and verbs.

When done, read it to yourself. Can you feel the potency of the words that remain? Is there more power and dynamism to what you have written?

Share your piece (both the before and after) with your writing partners. Compliment one another on the positive changes you have made.

Novel Revision in a Month: Progress Report


Today I finally reached last Friday’s goal (Yes, that is LAST Friday you read) of revising through page 50 of The Swallow’s Spring (my latest title for my novel). I stopped working to make dinner after page 59.

Since November 1, I have revised a total of 59 pages and written 7 new pages.

Why seven new pages? It was rather a new experience for me. When I submit folktales I am often asked to cut the manuscript length, once by nearly 20%. So why am I adding pages to The Swallow’s Spring?

When I did a quick read through to prepare for revision back in October, I realized there were two things not yet developed properly in the novel—the subplot, and the main character’s relationship with several family members.

So, last Friday I wrote a temper tantrum (worse than a two-year-old denied her free cookie in the grocery store) for the main character’s mother. It was fun. Things got thrown (on paper, not in my house). There was much shrieking and wailing. Oh, and did I mention my heroine got slapped? Now it may be more apparent why she is such a goody-two-shoes peacekeeper and wants more than anything to control her own life. I also got to arrange a medieval Irish funeral for her Uncle (the research for that is what kept me up until midnight on November 1).

Now, the rushed through first quarter of the novel does not feel so rushed through anymore.

Next Wednesday: I’ll report my progress and share my main mission in this revision.

Reviser’s Block

I have never had to deal with writer’s block. My problem usually is too many ideas and not enough time. So imagine my surprise when it finally occurred to me I’ve been wallowing in reviser’s block for almost a month and a half!

I finally had to face this unpleasant fact square in the eye when I nearly committed to doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Written in a Month—held annually in November.)

At the retreat I attended earlier this month, a friend commented that the novel she’s finishing revisions on was written last November during NaNoWriMo. She loved the experience. She found the procedure freeing—just write and write fast—and is considering doing it again this year.

Wow, I thought, I’d like to write something new.

I told her I wanted to do it and then came home…to my novel I need to do one more revision on before I send it back to an editor who was interested in a second look.

For another week or so I toyed with the idea of both writing a new novel and revising the other—ha, ha, ha! However, I did eventually come to my senses.

And then I felt SO GUILTY. How could I not do NaNoWriMo? How could I let my friend down?

And then, last week, the solution presented itself as I was praying. I will do my own NaNoReviseMo! I can still set and meet daily and weekly quotas, my friend and I can still encourage each other, and best of all, by December 1, I’ll have revised my novel.

Granted I won’t be able to work fast and free. However with discipline, making the revisions I need to make in a month is doable.

And then I’ll truly be free to invest myself in the next exciting project!