Saturday 23 October 2010

Advice needed…again!

So I said I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve even been looking forward to it, doing the plans for my book and pre-writing blog post reviews, so I will be able to concentrate on it. Only now I am having second thoughts.

Here’s the thing: I had thought my new novel would be out by now, and that I would have got the initial promo off the ground. However, as normally happens with things, they always take longer than you think they’re going to, so it probably isn’t going to be out until closer to the end of the month.

The second thing is that I am finally having some luck placing short stories and I am really enjoying writing them. I’m worried that if I just stop I won’t be able to get back on track again.

Thirdly, the novel I have planned for NaNo, just isn’t the sort of thing I normally write, and while my heart says it is a great story that will sell, my head says that I shouldn’t be mucking around with different genres and that I should stick to what I know. A good friend of mine commented that a writer is like a ‘brand’ and that all of the successful ones have stuck to the same kind of formula.

My husband thinks I shouldn’t do NaNo. He thinks I should concentrate on one thing – being a horror writer and doing what I love – but I still find myself being tugged in the direction of NaNo.

So, what do you think? Am I just getting pre-Nano jitters or am I making a sensible decision by letting it go? I would love to hear your opinion!


  1. I would normally agree with the "brand" notion, except that by deviating you will uncover other strengths, and possibly discover some things about your own style: ways to refine methods and ideas. You might even discover that you're really good at another genre. It's worth it to explore if you have the time. If time is something you have an abundance of then it is on your side.

  2. I haven´t got a clue what NaNo is but I do think your other idea is really good and I don´t think you should drop it.

  3. Not a single mover, shaker, or winner ever made it by playing it "safe".

    Throw caution to the wind woman.

    Otherwise I'll be forced to use reverse psychology on you and tell you how bad you write in the 1st place, that you haven't got a chance, or what it takes, plus you're a woman!!!

    Now, go HIT the keyboard already and whip out that NaNo.

    Eeehhh... the things I do for people in the blogsphere...

  4. Well, I just had to change what I'm working on for NaNo--a big revision instead of a new manuscript--but I did NaNo last year and found it worthwhile so I'm going to do it. It's only a month and even if you don't finish a manuscript in that month or make the 50k goal, making the commitment forces you to really focus on your writing for 30 days. It's a short-enough time you're probably not going to lose that much steam on the other fronts.

    Second option is to say for NaNo, you're going to commit to 50k on new short stories. Shoot for 8-10 short stories during November. (I find that scarier than a whole novel--LOL.) Then you haven't let your momentum slip. If you do that, though, be sure and keep a running folder on your new idea so you don't lose any of your ideas while working on other projects.

    Let us know what you decide!

  5. NaNo is the perfect time to try something new! If it doesn't work out you've only wasted a month on it, after all (well, and the planning, but at least you've only been writing for a month). And I don't know about you, but NaNo always leaves me jazzed for writing more, even short stories!

    You can always start, and if it doesn't work out then oh well. No one's gonna make fun of you for stopping halfway through to work on something that's gonna bring in the cash instead ;)

  6. Wow, thanks everyone. It sounds like a resounding 'go-for-it' on the Nano front! I guess I just feel like doing Nano is something I really want to commited to before starting it. Going into it with the thought 'oh well,I might just give up halfway through anyway', isn't really how I want to do it.
    I'm still not a hundred percent decided, but I might have to try to wrap up some other projects and then see how I'm feeling. If I start a couple of days later than everyone else, I guess the Nano police aren't going to show up at the front door!

  7. I'll tell you one thing I don't like about NaNo - I think it produces less than quality material. Okay, I haven't done it, but completing the first draft of my second novel, which took me six months!, I can say I'm glad I backed out of NaNo last year with it (I also had a serious sickness in the family, but regardless...) the first draft of my second novel, which took me six months!, is really solid! I actually devoted time to thinking about the characters and plot, and I don't think I would have emerged with the same quality of "base" that I have now.

    Go with your gut - NaNo sounds great, but I don't think I'm much of a fan of spewing 40,000 words in 30 days, material that in the end, will probably take at least another five months of fixing - and sometimes that can be worse because it's easier to lose track of the direction of the novel in its originality. I'd be curious to know what percentage of NaNo novels actually become published?

    Good Luck! with whatever you choose.

  8. Hi Marissa. I've been considering the NaNo route too for a new novel. I've decided that I can't write a 50,000 word novel and then expand it later. I have to write the story as it comes. But! I'm going to do a two month NoNo of my own, aiming for 100,000 words by Christmas.

    Regarding the genre: Maybe you could market the new idea under a pen name? That way you can tell the story that needs to be told but keep your branding separate?

    Good luck whichever way you go!

    Any advice about finding a home for short stories?

  9. Hey Tina, I'm not sure I want to share my wicked ways of getting the shorts sold - I know you are too much competition! LOL!
    No, seriously, I have been searching the market place for anthologies and then basically writing stories to fit into specific requirements. Many of the anthologies I've been able to work into ideas I already have the bare bones for -- I've just done a little tweaking to make them fit. A great source is the site
    You can do a search for exactly what you want -- genre, subgenre, what payment you expect, and if you want to see your story in print or not. It's a handy site. My latest 'project' is for a short for PillHill Press for the anthology 2013. I am writing the short, but it is the sort of story that could easily turn into a novel!

  10. I think the best thing a writer can do is try something new. It expands your horizons and gets your creative juices flowing. Never limit your creativity. And you just never know til you start writing it.
    I stepped completely outside my comfort zone last year when I wrote an adult thriller. It was so challenging and so fulfilling at the same time. I did so much research and felt so proud of myself when I finished it. Okay, so it still needs some work now that I look back... but the important thing was the confidence i gained after writing it. Confidence that I can write ANYTHING i want if I try. I think it enriches us and breathes new life into our comfort genres.

  11. I'm going to put my two pennies worth in here and say I think you should do it. I think that while 'branding' has its place, experience and expanding ones skills is priceless. You are perfecting your craft and NaNoWriMo is more than just writing a novel. Who's to say that something you do in this novel wont inform something in your horror writing. I know from experience you can write to a deadline and at speed, but still, if you already have an idea you might as well using it and enjoy the challenge too.