• Travis Johnston


November is national novel writing month! It's the month designated for a bunch of writers--experts and beginners--to hit the common goal of 50,000 words before December 1st. You can learn more about it by going to nanowrimo.org.

It's free to sign up. All you do is submit what project you plan to write and in return they provide all the support. What support, you say?

You're part of a community that is there with you, each of them trying to reach the same goal as you. Successful authors are asked to provide pep talks throughout the month to help you keep going. It really is an exciting time for writing!

I know most readers don't think of book lengths by number of words, but by page number. We all know--from out 8th grade English class--that you can easily make a few paragraphs into a full essay by carefully selecting the largest font and double spacing. Page numbers is just not an accurate way to determine how much you've written.

In case you aren't too familiar with book lengths in regards to number of words, this should help.

So, what project am I going to do?

Well, I'm already nearly 70,000 words into the Savior of Magic's first draft, and I project it will be between 90k to 100k words. I'm close to finishing it, and then I will work hard on second and third drafts after that.

But here's the thing. A true NaNoWriMo goal means starting a new project on November 1st. I've been debating between starting a new book and being a rebel and continuing on my current project. I really want to finish the Savior of Magic. I've put so much work into it! Over a year! But I also have other projects I'd like to start.

What to do? What to do?

After much deliberation, I've finally made up my mind. On November 1st, I will start writing Draco, the sequel to Orion.



I've never reached the NaNoWriMo goal before. I've actually never signed up before. The last couple years I followed some of the pep talks, but I wasn't a part of the community of committed writers. And this year... I really want to hit the goal!

Even though I hadn't written 50k words in November, I believe I came somewhere close to that number in February 2016 while writing Orion. I didn't really keep track, but I know Orion is 95,000 words long and I wrote nearly half of it in that month.

So how do I reach this goal? 1667 words a day, that's how. Some days I can write that much in 2 hours, and sometimes in a week. The thing I need to focus on is to just write. Don't stop and correct anything. Just keep going. Later I'll go back and correct it.

Fortunately, I've already got Draco mapped out, along with the next book. So, all I have to do is follow the outline I have. My weakness is veering off of my original outline, believing I've just come up with a better idea. Eventually the issues with that idea pop up and it ruins the whole story. So, this time I'm going to just focus on writing the first plot I designed. And then later I'll go back and fix things.

The advantage is this is a sequel, so I already know the main characters well, making it easier to just let their characters naturally respond to the setting and circumstances in the story.

What about Thanksgiving?

Oh boy... I'm going on a week-long vacation for Thanksgiving to Utah. What will I do? Take my laptop with me and find time to write 1667 words. That might mean waking up early or staying up late--most likely the latter. I also hope to write more than 1667 words per day before Thanksgiving to make up for any lost work. 2000 words a day should be good.

Will I continue to work on Draco after November or switch back to the Savior of Magic?

I don't know. Let's save that decision until December 1st, eh?

So, yeah. That's what I'm doing for November. Anyone want to join? :)

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