NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth has finally begun! At last I am able to put the next story in the ‘Billy’s Revenge’ series to paper. It feels so good to be back working with Billy Nine-fingers and Huw the Bard! I feel like I have come home. Last year on November 1st when I began writing ‘The Last Good Knight’ I didn’t really have much of a story, or even an idea of what I was going to write, other than the short story that eventually became the final chapter and gave the book its name. This year, I know where to start, and I know my characters as well as I know myself.
This story is really two stories, told along side of each other. One is the tale of Billy Nine-fingers and the other is the tale of Huw the Bard. The story spans the first year of Billy’s Revenge. Slippery Jack is back, and so are all the old Rowdies.
But what is this NaNoWriMo I keep talking about? National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 with just 21 participants. Last year there were over 200,000 participants (of whom I was one) and 2,872,682,109 words were written. Participants write either a complete novel of 50,000 words, or simply the first 50,000 words of a novel to be completed later. While 50,000 words is a relatively low word count for a complete novel, it is still significantly more than the 40,000 word mark that distinguishes a novel from a novella. Notable novels of roughly 50,000 words include The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Brave New World, and The Great Gatsby.
Some participants, like me, set higher goals for themselves, like writing upwards of 100,000 words, or completing two or more separate novels. To win NaNoWriMo, participants must write an average of approximately 1,667 words per day. Organizers of the event say that the aim is simply to get people to start writing, using the deadline as an incentive to get the story going and to put words to paper. This “quantity over quality” philosophy is summarized by the site’s slogan: No Plot? No Problem! This is also the title of Chris Baty’s book of advice for NaNoWriMo participants, which he published in 2004.
This year, I have a plot, and I know where I am taking my characters. I am thrilled to be back with all my friends from Billy’s Revenge, and can’t wait to wake up and write each day!