Gearing Up for NaNo
Don’t look now, but it’s Oct. 23. As in, less than ten days before November blows in on the excitement, nerves and anticipation of a whole bunch of writers.
Including me. For the second year, I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month. After winning last year with my young adult steampunk, I had quite a few people ask me, “So what’d you win?” What did I physically “win” for completing NaNo. Like a medal. Or a year’s membership in the Cheese of the Month Club. (Which—sidenote—I wouldn’t say no to.)
I tried my best to explain that I won a book—my book. I suspect it may be hard for non-writers to grasp how BIG of an achievement it is to write a complete novel in 30 days. No, I didn’t get a medal; I got an enormous sense of accomplishment and a first draft of a new manuscript—something I definitely didn’t have on Oct. 31. Yes, that first draft was rougher than an Old West saloon and riddled with more (plot) holes than a just-average gunslinger (analogies!), but it was mine.
I’ve spent the last year working on that first NaNo manuscript in starts and fits—filling out the plot, adding depth to characters, wholesale rewriting. And now, I’m about to do it all over again. I couldn’t be more excited/terrified.
Last year I wrote about alchemy. This year:
Yup. Cheerleading. Or, more appropriately, a dry, snarky, contemporary coming-of-age with cheerleading in the background.
This idea has been jumping around my head—with spastic enthusiasm and high kicks—for a while now. It started with a writing exercise in my YA intensive at the Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop. The exercise: a hard choice. Oddly enough, my “choice” was a short scene of a girl who is a donor match to give her mom a kidney … except that would mean quitting her final year of cheerleading. (Weird sidenote: not long after this writing exercise, my sister was diagnosed with a kidney disease, which obviously means I’m magic, right?) Then, one of the literary agents I follow on Twitter lamented the lack of realistic cheerleaders/cheerleading in YA.
Those two initial ideas looked at each other from across the (mind) room, started furiously making out, and my NaNo idea was born.
Starting Nov. 1, I’ll be back-handspringing* into the world of cheerleading and high school to write BLUEBELL BAKER SUCKS AT LIFE. Along the way, I’ll post more here about my characters, some excerpts, and generally try to convince all the naysayers (cough*my husband*cough) that cheerleading isn’t just the stereotype.
So c’mon, November. Let’s go. Let’s go. L-E-T-S-G-O.
*Yes, I was a cheerleader. And just like my main character, most people are astonished to learn this fact.