I found out about National Novel Writing Month by accident four years ago. I was big into fanfiction at that point and really wanted to test my abilities to create my own characters from scratch. I told my best friend about it and she joined in to. I found that when I have a goal, something to ‘win’, I kick butt. I think it’s the competitive streak in me. Even if it’s a personal goal, I will be damned if I lose.
The first year I did Nano, 2010, I wrote my 50K words in three weeks time. I wrote every day and flew through the story. I knew what I wanted and I enjoyed every minute of it. Then, being so proud of myself for hitting that 50K early, I decided I deserved a few days off of writing before I finished the novel. That was a BAD choice. I didn’t open that file back up until January. Then I didn’t open it again until July. I finished the first draft in October of 2011. Just in time to attempt my second Nano.
Yes, I said Attempt. I got all of 5000 words written that month. I felt like an utter failure, but I didn’t give up. I still have that 5000 words saved on my computer waiting for me to return to it. You know, if the plot ever actually grows in my head. That was the book that made me realize that being a pantser doesn’t really work for me.
Last year, I planned and outlined for two months prior to November. By the time November 1st rolled around my story was practically laid out and waiting for me. I had pictures of all my characters, inspiration for the town that I created including a map I drew up, and even a detailed daily writing schedule that gave me a day off writing each week. The outline stuck, but the schedule went right out the window. Sometimes life kicks you in the butt and you have to adjust your schedule accordingly. I hit my 50K words with three days to spare. But lucky for me, I remembered my past mistakes and didn’t stop until the book was complete.
This year, I am doing a little NaNo cheating. I still plan on writing 50K words, but it will be on two separate novels. Both have outlines. Both have details ready and waiting. I am an unapologetic Plotser.
When it came time to begin my publishing journey, I started like most others and queried agent after agent. I got a lot of inital interest but was told time and again that while the agent enjoyed the story, selling homeless teenagers to a publisher would be too difficult. But I loved the story. I believed in it. It was my first full completed novel and I refused to let it sit in a drawer. So, I started researching self publishing. By March of 2013, LIFE ON LOAN, hit the shelves of the virtual book world. I made a ton of mistakes with that one. But I don’t regret a single thing.
Three months later I published OVEREXPOSED. I got myself a professional editor, I had marketing, and actually had a small handful of followers on social media. I made myself available to my readers, to other authors, and to bloggers. A big part of being an author now is social media and creating relationships with people. Last month I released The Tempering, a novel I wrote earlier this year. In December I am releasing yet another novel that I wrote this year. Four books in one year and I credit every bit of it to finding National Novel Writing Month and believing in my stories, and myself, enough to push forward.
I think the biggest tip I can give to other Wrimos is to keep going. If you are unsure about if you can do it or not, or if it will be good or not, the only way to find out the answer is to try. If November comes and goes and you don’t hit that coveted 50K, don’t worry. Try again next year or possibly do Camp Nano over the summer where you get to choose your own word goal. But never, ever, give up.
About Adrianne James
Growing up, Adrianne couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.
During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.
As a young adult and new adult author, Adrianne James has plans to bring stories of growing characters, a little romance, and perhaps a little magic and mythology down the line for her readers to enjoy.