Why I Tried Something New for NaNoWriMo 2017

Like those in every other profession, writers get into ruts. And though I wasn’t particularly in a rut this past October when I decided to try a whole new genre, I knew it was possibly a great preventative to avoid becoming rutted. So, the idea for the Eden Blum mystery series was birthed. I love reading a variety of genres, so I thought I’d try writing one of those that I thought I could never write: a mystery.

I decided to start with cozy mystery, as those are less “hardcore” than things like Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs write. I have vision for a stage play to write in the more hardcore realm, but a novel–my first mystery novel–wasn’t the place to start with hardcore work since I only had 30 days in which to write it (and no time ahead to research).

It was still intimidating to step into a new genre world, though. I kept thinking, “There’s no way I’ll pull this off.” I had always assumed I couldn’t write a mystery of any kind without years of research. Heck, I haven’t written any book before that wasn’t loaded with years of research and personal knowledge of the main topic. The “For the Love of Music” is saturated with knowledge from my own musical education, experiences, et cetera, plus the heavy research I did interviewing musicians, studying life and career histories of famous bands and musicians, and hundreds of hours analyzing music.

But this new book, the Eden Blum mystery, I just chucked it all in and did it without researching prior to writing.

It was an odd freedom filled with mild terror. “I’m not cut out for this genre!” echoed through my head a thousand times over that 30 days. “This is absolute rubbish!” chimed in my research loving self. But I pushed through the stupid voices in my head, and I did it. I wrote an entire mystery novel on my first attempt. I didn’t have to give up and abandon the idea–I didn’t give into the fear that I couldn’t do it.

The book will require hundreds of hours in editing and revising, but she’s still a book. And I’ve grown as a writer for taking that scary goal on and smashing it over the head with winning NaNoWriMo 2017.

What are some of the ways you’ve been pushed as a writer? Have you ever written something completely out of your scope before? How did it go?

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NaNoWriMo Day 2

Day 2 has hit. I’ve only written a few hundred words, but I’m okay with this (especially since yesterday I had already exceeded the minimum for today as well). I have to function in this world, making a living, cooking, cleaning, blah, blah, blah…can’t entirely stop everything for NaNo, much as I’d love to.

Thus far, I’ve figured out where my lead character and her husband live, what the premise behind the mystery is and a few key factors in what isn’t the mystery. I could very easily be going about this all wrong, but I’m okay with that. Exploring the writing of a new genre is supposed to be filled with errors, mistakes, inconveniences and new discoveries. I have the feeling that will definitely happen a lot in this one.

I haven’t quite found the narrator’s voice, nor the exact location of where the story is taking place. I’ve picked a generic region of the country, even a large town to focus things around, but, yeah…nothing beyond that.

What discoveries are you making in your novel this year?

NaNoWriMo Prep Day 1: Sharing a Writing Space

It is October. So you know what that means–NaNo Prep time!

This year, I’ve got a whole new experience awaiting me as I write for NaNoWriMo. Last year, I co-wrote a book with my then fiance. This year, we’re writing side-by-side, in the same apartment, as husband and wife!

I’ve written books with others around before. But I’ve never attempted this feat with someone so…distracting around before. Last year as we co-wrote, he was in Florida while I was in Chicago. And we only spoke for about an hour a day on the phone. Now, however, he’s merely feet away at any given moment (both the pro and the con of both working from home)…and terribly distracting to me in many ways.

So this month, a lot of my prep time for NaNoWriMo will actually be adapting to having a handsome, silly man around who wants to talk story, theology, music, writing, kittens, and movies all day long, during work breaks.

Today, my assignment is to create a check-list for the NaNoWriMo, including anything to assist in avoiding distraction by the hot husband.

  1. the best playlist ever for NaNoWriMo
  2. sound neutralizing headphones
  3. a closed door between handsome man and myself while writing
  4. fitness attire washed and ready to go (1 week’s worth at a time, folded and placed in bathroom, ready to put on immediately when I rise)
  5. store of amazing teas to sample and possibly blog about
  6. healthy snack foods, prepped twice weekly (celery sticks, carrot sticks, green peppers, etc. cut and stored)
  7. healthy meals prepped for reheat on stove (prepped once weekly)
  8. writing hour boundaries discussed and set with hubby
  9. research and source materials in place by October 31
  10. candles galore!
  11. lighting pre-planned for optimal writing times
  12. cat toys to throw at cat when she attempts to add her own distractions
  13. outline
  14. (working?) title
  15. cover
  16. novel set up on NaNoWriMo.org by Oct. 25
  17. list of blogs to write for October by October 5
  18. list of blogs to write for November by October 31
  19. plenty of cat treats for leash training cat on writing breaks
  20. 10 cozy additional mystery books read (unless I choose to go a different route than currently planned)

That should be more than enough to work on in the midst of my various gigs and big events this month.

NANOWRIMO IS COMING!