NaNoWriMo Part One: The Preface
I have a confession to make.
I am finally participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. (Be my buddy!)
Oh, that’s not the confession. The confession is this: I already have 5,594 words.
Now, when the goal is 50,000 words, that’s not THAT big of a dent. So I shouldn’t feel too guilty about my head-start come Friday. I just feel like I need to work on this idea that’s been brewing in me for over a year and a half now, because I’m finally at a place where I can sit down and write it. I think.
The idea came to me last summer, in May or June. I was thinking about relationships and growing up and books, all things which are on my mind quite frequently. I wished that I had read Young Adult books that didn’t focus on the girl getting the guy in the end. I wanted a story that was more complex than that. Maybe it was about coming to terms with the life you’ve been given, or about becoming independent and happy to be young and single.
I also wanted a mediocre heroine. Someone funny and strong and ambitious, but blocked behind obstacles and insecurities and comparisons to her overly talented and beautiful peers. Someone like myself. Or at least how I felt in high school. And, let’s face it, college, too. I wanted all the characters to have that real complexity. Her best friend/valedictorian backs out of her dream college. Her beautiful, popular friend is terrified of commitment. Her cousin is a lesbian and it’s not a huge deal for all the characters. She just is. Her older brother is rushing into a marriage with his Type A dream girl, desperate to meet her expectations. Her parents are divorced and her dad is heartbroken after nearly seven years, her mom cloaking her emotions beneath a new marriage and a young daughter. And the guy she was crazy about for nearly two years, it turns out, is kind of a dud.
So I started creating these characters. I gave them names, birthdays, traits, backstories, family members, and the colleges they’d be splitting off to at the end of the summer/novel. Then I created a timeline. It starts on Friday, June 1 and ends in September. Big and little events are spread out throughout the story, with snippets of dialogue already written.
Then, in my French Literature class last fall, I did not take intense notes from Mme Sophie Robert. I began handwriting Anna’s story. And I worked on it with off-and-on devotion for a few months, and haven’t touched it all year. Until last night. In preparation for NaNoWriMo. And suddenly it feels so real and achievable because I’m writing it for fun, and I’m writing it for young readers. It’s my first NaNoWriMo, my first novel, and it doesn’t feel like a huge daunting task. It feels like an adventure that I’m already on.
Let’s do this.