It’s November and that means it’s NANOWRIMO. To celebrate my first Nanowrimo novel, Zero Repeat Forever being on the way to publication by Simon & Schuster I’m featuring many published or soon-to-be-published Nanowrimo novels over the month of November.
Today I’m featuring Elizabeth Schechter whose Nano Novel Heart’s Master comes out in December 2016. Her Nano experience was a cautionary tale.
Breaking the NaNoWriMo Curse
I was cursed. That’s the only way I could explain it.
Okay, let me back up.
These days, I’m a multi-published, award-winning author. Back in 2003, though, I was an artist, and I was one of those “I have always wanted to be a writer” people. Someone had told me about National Novel Writing Month, and it sounded like fin. So, in 2003, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. After all, what did I have to lose? I had a story idea, I had an outline, and I was self-employed, so I had the time.
It was Columbus Day weekend, 2003. We went on a four day cruise to the Bahamas — a business trip for my husband, if you could believe it. Tromped around Nassau, went to the Pirate Museum. Had a really good time. We flew home to Baltimore, and I called my mother in New York to let her know we were home.
Three hours later, with no warning at all, my mother died.
Needless to say, I was devastated. Still am, to some extent. You really never get over losing a parent.
The following year. I had a story idea, I had an outline. I also had a job that I’d just started in September, but I thought I could make it work. After all, what did I have to lose?
Halloween weekend, 2004. I get a call at work from my sister. Our father, who was in a nursing home at the time, had been having trouble breathing, and had been taken to the hospital. Now, he’d done this before, to the point that I teased him once that if he wanted us to come up from Maryland to visit, he could just ask. He didn’t need to go into the hospital. At the time, he thought it was funny. I told my sister to keep me posted, told her we’d come up that weekend, and went into a meeting.
By the time I was out of my meeting, my father had died.
At this point, I swore that I was never, ever going to attempt NaNoWriMo ever again. Period. Full stop. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. No.
Fast forward to 2010.
I am a fan of Ursula Vernon, and it was she who introduced me to the concept of National Novel FINISHING Month. It’s also in November, and it’s where you take that UFO that’s lurking on your hard drive and actually finish the blasted thing.
Hey, I could do that. I had a half-finished novel on my hard drive. It had stalled out, and I’d had to go back and rework it and see where I’d gone wrong. I had just sold my first novel to Circlet Press. Maybe I could do it again. And since I wasn’t writing a full novel, just finishing one that I had started years before, then maybe I could avoid the curse?
October 28th. My sister got hit by a car. Thankfully, she was fine, but honestly, Universe? What do you have against me doing NaNoWriMo?
Since no one actually died this time, I started in on finishing the novel on November 1st. And by the time November 30th rolled around, I had a word count of 50,103. The novel still wasn’t done, but I’d defeated the Nano curse.
That Nano novel, Heart’s Master, was acquired by Circlet Press, and will be released in early-to-mid-December, 2016.
And, no. I’ve never done NaNoWriMo again.