I don't just like writing. I love it. I do a lot of it. I write a lot of non-fiction, but once a year I take a dip in the pool of fiction writing and set out to do the unthinkable: Write a 50,000 word work of fiction in the space of a month's time. That's right. I participate in a thing called Nanowrimo.
These efforts usually sputter out and die quickly when confronted with life's random reality. However, I have completed the challenge twice now. Once with a book that never got a proper ending, and once from start to finish. Those works are filed on my hard drive somewhere, and will most likely never see the light of day. They are that bad.
The point of Nanowrimo isn't quality, though, it's quantity. It's about getting in the habit of writing and pushing yourself to do the unthinkable. I'll tell you a story about 2009 and my Nanowrimo efforts that year. I was 15 days into the challenge, keeping up a nice comfortable pace of 1,667 words a day with ease. My story was good, my characters were developing and it seemed like it would be NO problem making the deadline. I was confident, and I was ready.
Then came day 16. My hard drive crashed, taking all of my hard work with it. It took us a week to get the harddrive back up, and it was looking grim for whether or not I would ever be able to recover those files. I had a choice: Quit - or start from scratch and push forward. I started from scratch and pushed forward. I caught up all of the days worth of writing I was behind. Then, like a light breaking through the darkness of a storm cloud, we managed to recover the hard drive and restore the story as it had been in the beginning.
The curious thing about that was that the story that ended up emerging from my rewrite was a better story than the one I had first written. I was able to merge the two together to make a much stronger story than even the second one had been. I will probably rewrite that story a fourth time and merge all the components into a richer and fuller tale, but I learned a great deal from that day. I learned that starting over from scratch is hard, but sometimes it's exactly what needs to happen. I learned that if you have enough determination and plenty of caffeine at hand, anything is possible.
In that time, I have done a lot more writing. In fact, I have somehow managed to reach a point where I actually get paid a little bit for my writing here and there. I have learned something about myself as a writer. I have learned that I write better and am more likely to stick to my writing schedule when I make a commitment to someone else that they can expect something from me. So, here is my commitment to my readers: Every day for the next 30 days I will release one chapter of my new book: The Pebble. I make no promises as to its quality, but I guarantee each chapter will be at least 1,667 words long. Sometimes more. You can check back here to find the links for each day's chapter.
Introduction: I am Kate
Chapter 1: The Invitation
Chapter 2: The Meeting
Chapter 3: The Calling
Chapter 4: The Visitor
Chapter 5: The Package
Chapter 6: The Proof
Chapter 7: Burying Bones
Chapter 8: First Date
Chapter 9: Lunch Time
Chapter 10: Eucharistic Adoration
Chapter 11: Marian Apparitions
Chapter 12: It Begins
Chapter 13: Bright Lights
Chapter 14: Challenge Accepted
Chapter 15: Morning Mass
Chapter 16: Unexpected Visitors
Chapter 17: Turning Point
Chapter 18: Questions & Answers
Chapter 19: Tornado Dreams
Chapter 20: Principal Durham
Chapter 21: Looking Back
Chapter 22: Agent Brannigan
Chapter 23: Hard Choices
Chapter 24: Last Chance
Chapter 25: Answered Prayers
Are you brave enough to join me on this literary journey into total insanity? If so, leave a comment below and let me know. if you let me know a link to where I can find your writing, I'll even read along with you :)
Update: Now that Nanowrimo has come to an end, you can download the unedited rough draft of the book for your kindle or other ereader. It's free to download, and will remain so until I complete the final version.
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