NaNoWriMo 2015 is on it’s way to a keyboard near you

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past six years. NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, offered each November. I just signed up once again to do this remarkable-and-stress-filled month-long challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That’s approximately 1,700 words each day of November.

Because I completed the rough draft of two of my books (The Town That Disappeared and War Unicorn) through WriMos of the past, and because I have an awesome and encouraging critique group who are also participating, I dive in once again.

I remember standing on the edge of the deep end of pools, dipping my foot in the water, affirming it was colder than the air temperature, and still taking in a deep breath and diving in. I know if I were to instead, go to the shallow end and walk to chest-deep water before going under, it would take me ten times longer to finally submerge and start to swim.

So it is with writing (for me). I appreciate the writing challenge. It both terrifies me (because I’ve done it before), and pushes me to satisfactory conclusions.

With The Town That Disappeared, I struggled. I’d thought about writing this story for four years before I used NaNoWriMo to force me to pound the words out on a keyboard. That month, I added rambling thoughts about the book, about the characters, about my frustration. I also included some of the writing challenges. I counted all those in the word-count to make it to the 50,000 word goal by November 30. In January of the following year, I deleted all the blabber and cut back the story to the essential. That was 3,000 very good words. Over the next few months, I revised and rewrote and built it back up to 27,000 to be the middle grade historical fiction it is. But I could never have gotten there without the NaNoWriMo push.

So I challenge you, too, to take the plunge, and join NaNoWriMo. When you do, I am “sandycarl.” We can be writing buddies and encourage each other in this writing adventure.

Money! — Your Character and Finances

Money! We all need it. (And so do the characters about whose lives we wrangle.) We either love money or hate it, often both. Of course, there are the stories of a family living in a house a few square yards long, or a man solving his financial woes by retiring, or people investing and coming out with big money.  Well, you need money to build, to have put into retirement, and to invest. You read of lottery winners or of poor girls with whom a prince falls in love with. And the chance of either of those happening is such a sliver-thin chance we know it won’t happen to us. But we still hope. Oh, why has money so fascinated us?

On Saving Money — If the average American family eats out four times a week, and my DH and I only eat out once a month (and only to a fast-food-take-it-home-to-eat place), a suggestion to cook at home in order to save money isn’t really relevant. Give up smoking? Don’t do it. Give up annual family trips? DH and I spent $2,000 on our seven-week honeymoon, camping out in or traveling through sixteen states. Our family vacations were all camping or visiting out of state family. Both our cars are eighteen years old. It’s not like we’re putting that extra money in the bank every month; it mostly goes from paycheck to mouth and bills. So how does your protagonist save money?

On Giving Away Money — Even in the church-going realm, the Bible instructs to give one tenth of your income to God. (All of what you have is God’s, but we are expected to give back only one tenth of all that.) Many people claim to be “tithers” because they give money to their churches, but a recent poll showed that only 3% of church-goers actually give that full annual ten percent (and that’s before taxes, gang). The poll also showed that the people who give the larger percent have the less income.

On Having Extra Money — Are rich people happy because of money? How many people are like Rockefeller who, when asked how much was enough, answered, “Always a little more.”

On Being Free of Money — As I mentioned, we need money, but we can be freed from the hunger of it. One of my favorite lines about money is from a movie from a book by Bernard Cornwell. When Richard Sharpe is asked, “What do you do when you don’t have money, Richard?” He answers, “Do without, Sir.” The response is, “No, Richard. You borrow!” Richard is free of the entanglement of money. How about the characters you write about?

Writing Exercise: Think about a character in your story and where they are with money. Do not just think about where they stand physically (e.g., village in Sudan, wealthy American suburb, rural, urban, tourist area). Also wrap your mind around their attitude towards money. Are they needy? Greedy? Freed from it? Then plop your character into a situation to show off that attitude (e.g., earthquake, robbed in an unfamiliar city, divorce, health issue, etc).

Happy writing.