All the NaNoWriMo words

It’s been more than a week since the Kincade fire, and I’m thrilled to report (if you haven’t already seen in the news) that the fire has been 100% contained. Huge props to the first responders and emergency crews that kept many homes from burning. There were still some houses that were lost, but no one died and the destruction was so much less than the last time our area burned.

Currently, I’m 8 days into writing my NaNoWriMo novel, and more than 21,000 words into the story. For those of you keeping track, NaNoWriMo participants are supposed to be at 13,336 words today, so I’m a wee bit ahead.

Hell, yes, I’m bragging.

I’ve woken up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, refrained from touching social media until I’ve completed two hours of writing, and given up lunch breaks and evening relaxation in favor of writing.

That said, it’s super hard to keep writing momentum during the week. That high word count is fully thanks to slamming out 10,000 words over the first weekend in November. During the week, I’m lucky if I hit 2,000 – and that’s even with my two hour early morning writing sessions. Now that we’re heading for the weekend again, I’m really hoping I can pad that number again with a few word sprints, but the story is getting more difficult to write now that I’m in the middle of the story. I’m having to think harder about plot and where this story is heading, and sometimes it feels like I’m just moving characters from room to room rather than moving the plot.

But I’m still having so much fun with the story. When I first started plotting for NaNoWriMo, I decided to come up with the most outlandish story I could think of, as I had no intention of publishing this whatsoever.

The story is about a nerdy guy named Neal who’s a library facilities manager by trade, but whose real passion is turtle training. He has 5 turtles he’s trained himself, and they’re his absolute pride and joy. But when the apartment he lives in is taken over by new management, he’s forced to leave and give up his beloved turtles, because no place he can afford will accept pets (even though his turtles are NOT mere pets, but companions). He ends up moving in with a crazy cat lady (her 15 cats are allowed, but would probably eat his turtles), and he releases his companions to a turtle sanctuary.

Needing a change in his life and something to look forward to, Neal decides to answer a personal ad in the newspaper (he’s an old-fashioned 32-year-old). But what he thinks is someone looking for love is actually an ad for a huge scavenger hunt in Fiji. Somehow, the rep convinces him to take a chance, and all of a sudden he’s on a plane halfway around the world, ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

To say I’ve had fun writing this crazy story is an understatement. I’ve added in all these little details that are seriously cracking me up, like quotes from a made-up TV survivalist that “coincidentally” resembles Bear Grylls, an appearance by Survivor’s Jeff Probst, and bringing Neal’s turtle-loving, full-of-phobias character to life.

I also realize I’m probably going to publish the dang thing, even though it’s sending my books in ANOTHER new genre direction. But whatever. I’m laughing, so you should get to be entertained, too.

And it’s not like I’ll every realistically stick to one genre. It’s time I accept that.

A note on my decision to eventually release this as a novel: it was really liberating when I was writing for no one and just for myself. Now that I’ve reached the slushy middle at the same time I’ve decided to publish, I have to remember to be less concerned with the outcome and more concerned with having fun. After November I can clean up the mess.

At any rate, onward, upward, and all the words.

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