In which I do what I (almost) always do in November: I WRITE

I did my first NaNoWriMo in 2008.

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month, i.e.
write the first draft of your novel in a single month.

That year, for the first time in my life, I wrote an entire book.

I started at the beginning with a premise (A 100-mile endurance ride open only to teenagers on horseback.  The completion prize is a wish.) and I wrote almost every day. Two days from the end of the month, my characters were almost at the finish line and I still didn't know how to end the book...and then suddenly I did.

That feeling is better than drugs, y'all.

(I tried revising the book for publication earlier this year, but it's not done marinating yet.  I will work on it, though.  I promise!)

Finishing that book left me looking around for something else to write.  So, in December 2008 I started this blog.  Did I mention addictive drugs?

The next year I signed up for NaNoWriMo again.  I spent the entire month of November on a book that I hated.  I hated the characters, I hate the setting, I hated the whole thing.  On the last day of the month, I loaded all the characters into a Jeep and drove them off a cliff.

That felt pretty good.

In 2010, I returned to NaNoWriMo and wrote a series of short stories about a mostly-made up small town in the Swampland.  I called the town "Skookum," and I posted some of the stories on this blog.  Some of the stories were pretty good, and I've even returned to Skookum with a few more stories.  I think a couple of the stories are worth revising for publication eventually.  The collection isn't quite finished yet, but it's definitely on my list of stuff to work on in my copious spare time.

In 2011 I decided to spend the month writing heaps of articles for Endurance News magazine, but Troy (the editor) sent me a note that said, "I think you should write a whole book instead."

So I did.

In 2012 I was too busy doing major editing and re-writing on the manuscripts of Endurance 101 and the other book to write a novel.

But this year, I did it again.

Actually, I wrote two books, sorta.  The first is a book that is definitely headed for publication:

How to Love a Dog is a modern guide for people who are new to (or not yet very adept at) dog ownership.

The DogLove book attempts to balance out some of popular media's messages about loving dogs, and show people (because people aren't dumb and they aren't mean, but a lot of people just don't know) that their dog would rather have this:

Do you know how nasty this tennis ball smells?
Dogs just love that stuff.
or this

Nutritious dog food, not whatever is on sale cheapest at WalMart.

than this:
If there's money in your account after buying good food, good vet care
and some nice toys, by all means, purchase a cute outfit.

My co-author on the dog book is Patty, who is also my favorite small animal vet.

Patty said "I don't write."
I said, "You don't have to write.  You just have to tell me stories about people and dogs."
She said, "I've got stories."

And dang.  She sure does.

So, now that November is almost over, we've got a first draft of the "Dog Love" book ready to be revised in December.  That's a good feeling.

And then, just for fun, I wrote most of a novel:

Claus of Death 

Premise:  Santa Claus finds a dead body in the living room.  Okay: go.

I don't know if that one is any good.  It's got to marinate for at least 6 months.  But it was fun trying to figure out whodunnit.

BTW the reindeer really do know how to fly.

So now I've got projects enough to keep me busy for months.

How 'bout you?  Did you write?  Did you have any fun?  Leave your notes in the comments box!


  1. There is three days left, not counting today.

    I guess I should count today, because I still have have to do today's words.

    Okay, let me start over.

    There are four days left, you overachiever. I still have a little over 12,500 words left for my win.

    Last year I wrote half of book, a terrible book with moment's of brilliance. I still want to finish the story - I just need to get my storycraft better before I fix my issues.

    This year I've written half of a book with a good plot but only "B" writing. I'm thinking with revision, after I finish the first draft (my goal is before December 25th), I will be able to add moments of really good writing and bring the whole thing up to "A" quality--- I hope.

    I hope.

    I really, really hope.

    Anyways, I don't know what I'm doing here, typing on your comments box instead of my story, except to say - wow. You finished four days ahead of schedule. That's, like, practically a week ahead of schedule.

    You rock.

    Also, also, I want to own your book.

  2. Becky, you totally rock. I had to drag myself through the last few days so I could finish early b/c I'm working all weekend. So I've actually got the beginning and end of the murder mystery--I skipped the middle because I was getting bored and running out of time. Does anybody else do that?

    Your stuff is going to be awesome.

    1. Last year I started at point A, vaguely mapped to the end, and then slogged through.

      That absolutely doesn't work for me.

      This time it's going much better - I plotted a bit better so I don't have to chuck 30,000 words like I did last year (I still don't want to talk about how much that hurt) because I wrote in the wrong direction..... but I've decided the only way for me to write is to figure out what mood I'm in, and which scene best fits that mood, and then write that scene.

      Even though this book is in bits and pieces - all individual chapters and scenes that I'll go back and glue together at the end - I can already tell it's much better than the last.

      Scrivener is definitely my friend!

      And I hope it's awesome - I'm hoping to start sending it off to traditional publishers the first of February. :)

  3. This year, I decided I was absolutely, positively going to participate in NaNoWriMo. Then I accidentally grew another elbow, which had to take precedence, much to my annoyance. I see no reason one can't write with 3 elbows. I suppose I can invent my own JaDeWriMo....

    1. Here's your working title, Jane: "A funny thing happened on the way to my elbow..."

  4. I LOVE to write, hence a DAILY blog, but I've yet to put anything together that could be called a book. I've tried, but I just don't have enough to say for 300 pegs. :0)

    1. Karen, I've always admired your DAILY blog--I'm never that organized (or motivated), which is why a MONTH of daily writing works great: I can promise myself that I don't have to do it anymore as long as I survive into December!

  5. I have gotten about half way - I started late, almost caught up and then lost. all. the. motivation. I don't even know why; I love my story, the characters, the plot, and it just pours out of my brain when I sit down to write!

    Now I have to write a little over 22,000 in two days. I can do that - right?? -___-

    bonita of A Riding Habit

    P.S. - It's a pony book, so who wouldn't love it? ;P

    1. If it's a pony book *I WANNA READ IT*** So, get busy! Sometimes just getting my butt to the writing chair is the hardest part of the month, ya know?

  6. I can't wait to read your new books! The dog book is quite timely for me, as I currently have acquired the canine "love of my life"- and have become somewhat obsessed! Will it be a book book? or on Kindle?

    1. Karen, we'll release it in paper and as an e-book. Monica is doing photos for it, so you know it will be beautiful.

      Maybe you'd be interested in beta-reading it when we get to that stage in a few months? We need a reader or two who can read through and give good commentary--point out stuff we've missed, or ask questions that we should answer.


    2. I would LOVE to! Can't wait:)

    3. Okay, gimme the first couple weeks of December to revise, and then I'll start sending your chapters! :-)

  7. I did NaNo back in 2005 and that opened the door for my love of creating fictional characters and worlds. Now I just need to *do* something with my ideas.

    I can't wait for the dog book to come out! I feel about that the same way I do about endurance books -- can never get my hands on too much good information!

  8. Okay, Ashley, Don't wait for next November-you can start writing TODAY!

    As for the dog book, what topics are y'all hoping we discuss? Get your thoughts in early, while we're still writing it!

  9. Argh - I just wrote a comment and then clicked the wrong spot and erased it! *sigh*

    I LOVE the ending to your 2009 novel attempt! I will be laughing about that for days... :-)

    Can't wait to hear more about the dog book - sounds like a neat mix of good information with James Herriott-like vet stories mixed in...maybe I'm off there, but either way, when can I get my copy? We are (finally!) going to get a dog next year, after being dog-less for over 2 years...

  10. Argh - I just wrote a comment and then clicked the wrong spot and erased it! *sigh*

    I LOVE the ending to your 2009 novel attempt! I will be laughing about that for days... :-)

    Can't wait to hear more about the dog book - sounds like a neat mix of good information with James Herriott-like vet stories mixed in...maybe I'm off there, but either way, when can I get my copy? We are (finally!) going to get a dog next year, after being dog-less for over 2 years...

  11. I've always loved to write too - hence a blog also. Have my Christmas Pony book - just need to work on getting it published... Love how you come up with such fresh ideas!


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