Yes, that is right, I have successfully completed the 2012 National Novel Writing Month challenge. I have captured 50,000 words of a novel titled “Return to Normal: Volume 1 of the Holleran Chronicles”. I know that this is a pretention title, presuming that there will be additional volumes, but I do have plans to keep writing on this theme. I have a long way to go to actually complete this novel. My first NaNoWriMo attempt took an additional two years to get into a form to publish. That book, “A Changed Man” is available on Amazon – free until the end of the day on Friday.
 

 

It was important that I finish the challenge early if I was to finish at all. We had guests in for Thanksgiving, which had me worried, and my work schedule is going to be crazy the rest of the year. I was lucky in that my guests let me write every day, in fact they encouraged it. I had all of my duties for the Thanksgiving meal completed by mid-morning. I have to set the formal table and make the dressing. Once the dressing is in a dish ready to go in the oven, I am no longer welcome in the kitchen. Too many cooks are a bad thing.

So, here is a synopsis of the book. The main character, Cole, is released from the army and sent out to grow crops and grow children and protect the roads. After exploring the country, he finds a location to settle down. He meets a woman, first known as Ish, later as Hon, and gets married. Ish/Hon’s past is left nebulous intentionally as I plan on making her the main character of volume 2. They have children and have to interact with people moving into the area, some with good intentions, some with bad. A settlement is started near their home as others try to fulfill the kings command of being fruitful and multiplying.

This work differs from my first work, which was a romance, in that there is a lot of violence and no sex. Obviously there are relations as they have children, but I did not include any descriptions, only innuendo. This was actually a lot of fun to write versus the detail of a man and a woman together. The action scenes were also fun.

I attribute my success to several thing. First, this was not my first attempt. I avoided the urge to edit and rewrite, I will have time enough to do that later. Second, I have been thinking about this story for almost a year. Third, I set aside time to write and since I have been under a lot of stress (work, kids in college, election, etc.) I have used the writing as a method of relaxation and transfer of emotion (you know you just cannot pull out a sword at work now-a-days).

I don’t know if writing can be used as relaxation for everyone, but it sure works for me. My wife prefers exercise which would be my last choice. That is one reason she is healthy and slender, while I, though health, am far from slender, can we say obese?

A note on statistics: 50,000 is about 75 pages of 11 point text in MSWord. The plan to follow is about 1,667 words per day to finish in 30 days. Here is a graph of my progress this year.

What you get if you succeed is a printable certificate and a selection of Icons to use in facebook, in your book, on your web page or on emails. Here is one of the icons that I got for completing the event.

Even if you do not get to 50,000 words, you still have the benefit of capturing your ideas on paper (or on your computer). Keep writing!

 

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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