It’s November and for many writers that means 30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon in the form of National Novel Writing Month, more affectionately known as NaNoWriMo.
If you’re not familiar with the event, it probably sounds like a formal greeting from an alien, and sometimes it feels just as crazy! But it is a great motivator for writers to sit down and write the damn book! The goal is to write a 50,000 word first draft in one month. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Well, I’m here to tell you it is completely doable!
This is my 4th year participating in NaNoWriMo and I’m writing my very first romantic suspense titled Broken Strings. Here’s the premise:
Best friends since college, witty and guarded Colleen Cooper and misguided playboy Jake Donovan have both sold out to propel Jake’s music career, but now they are trying to find success on their own terms. As a radio station DJ, Colleen has finally made a name for herself, but when Jake offers her the opportunity of a lifetime her own self-doubt and the anonymous threats she can’t escape have her second-guessing her qualifications and ability. Jake will do anything to prove to Colleen that he’s worth taking a chance on, but when the women around him start turning up dead, his reputation makes him the prime person of interest in the investigation, threatening his career and his future with Colleen.
This story has been in my head for a few years, but since I’ve never written a romantic suspense, I wasn’t sure where to start. Then I read some great advice in a blog post by Roxanne St. Claire which basically said, just write the story. So I am!
I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, which means I don’t outline the stories when I sit down to write them. Two years ago for NaNoWriMo I was preparing to write The Sound of Circumstance (which is due for release in the next couple months) and I wanted to be super-efficient and beat my previous year where I wrote 50K words in 20 days. So I sat down and plotted the book. I wrote each scene idea on a sticky note and moved things around on a poster board until it looked like I had a solid storyline. I entered it all into Scrivener and I was ready to write. November 1st came and as soon as I started putting words down, my characters started doing unexpected things. Before I knew it, the story had made a sharp left when I had planned for it to go right. Bon Jovi would say “this left feels right”, and I take anything they say as gospel, so being the pantser I am, I abandoned the outline and went with it. In 12 days, I had achieved 50K words (yes, 12 days, that’s not a typo). It was crazy.
Needless to say, after that experience I chose not to outline last year’s NaNoWriMo book. I had major surgery mid-month, so that’s my excuse for taking the full 30 days to finish, but finish I did, making it my 3rd consecutive year of winning NaNoWriMo.
Now here I am, writing a genre I’ve never written before and I’m a little nervous about it, so this year, I went back to the drawing board and plotted out the novel. Loosely, though, because I put a lot of trust in my characters and I know once I start writing, they are going to take me on a journey, not the other way around.
If you are a writer and participating in NaNoWriMo, I invite you to be one of my buddy’s (search for sawall) and I wish you the best of luck in writing with literary abandon!
If you’re a reader, I’d love to know what you think about writing a novel in 30 days!! And here’s a little treat, the opening lines of my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel Broken Strings:
“You have to stop pointing your gun at people.”
Colleen Cooper scowled at the detective now holding her Ruger.380. The purple semi-automatic pistol felt pretty badass when she fired it at an unwitting paper target at the range, but it looked so meager and girly in Detective Taggart’s manly hands.
Sighing, Colleen shook off the awareness coursing through her body. There was a time when that deep voice and the way he cocked his head to the right made her whole body quiver, but those days were long over. It was probably a good thing he was holding the gun now, otherwise she might be tempted to point it at him.
He gave her body a slow perusal and suddenly Colleen wished she wore something other than spandex when she went for her morning run. His condescending expression transformed into one of lust-filled approval. “You look good.”
“How’s your wife?” she asked, reminding him of the reason his bawdy opinion wasn’t welcome.
Her hand went up, stopping his plea. “Don’t Coll me, Devon. Am I under arrest or what?”
You can read a little bit more of this scene over at Peggy Jaeger’s blog on November 3rd!
Big dreamer and certifiable overachiever Susan Ann Wall embraces life at full speed and volume. She’s a beer and tea snob, can be bribed with dark chocolate, and the #1 thing on her bucket list is to be the center of a Bon Jovi flash mob.
Susan is a multi-genre author of racy, rule-breaking romance, women’s fiction, and erotic fiction (her erotic titles are published as Ann Victor). Her bragging rights include nine books in three different series, three perfect children, and a happily ever after with her Hero Husband that started while serving in the U.S. Army and has spanned nearly two decades (which is crazy since she’s not a day over 29).
In her next life, Susan plans to be a 5 foot 10, size 8 rock star married to a chiropractor and will not be terrified of large bridges, spiders, or quiet people (shiver). She’s a member of NHRWA, RWA-WF, RomVets, NHWP, NEIW, and WREN.
Her latest releases include The Sound of Deception (4th novel in her Puget Sound ~ Alive With Love contemporary romance series) and Quitting the Boss (3rd novella in Ann Victor’s Behind Office Doors erotic series), available in paperback and all ebook formats.
The Sound of Deception by Susan Ann Wall:
Quitting the Boss by Ann Victor: