NaNoWriMo: A Seasoned Writer’s Two Approaches

Ever since I decided I’d try my hand at NaNoWriMo the last day of September, it’s struck me that there were two approaches I could take. No, I’m not referring to the panster/planner debate, whether or not to outline. I’m talking about what kind of novel I’d intend to write.

If you’re planning to do NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and this will be your first novel, my hat’s off to you. I can’t imagine the guts you have! I’ve never done NaNo before, and at this point, I have four novels under my belt before I attempt this fifth one in November. For me, the big question was this:

Do I step out of my genre comfort zone and try something completely new for me, or do I stick to what I know, namely fantasy?

My first thought was to expand my series of Herezoth novels. I have the first trilogy set in Herezoth more or less completed, barring beta reader edits for “The King’s Sons,” the last installment. I know how those stories end; by chance, I was in the perfect position to begin the adventures of the next generation of sorcerers just as NaNoWriMo looms. But, the thought of leaving my fantasy world behind was also quite appealing. It was equally appealing, if not more so. I could write something contemporary, set in the real world, the world I know. I could try my hand at Christian fiction, which I’ve always had in the corner of my mind as a possibility for me. I could even write a crime thriller! As a big fan of Agatha Christie, and even Nancy Drew as a girl, that could have been an option too.

That is the fun of NaNo. That is what NaNo’s all about in my mind: stretching your limits, doing something you haven’t done before. After all, if those 50,000+ words turn out a wreck, you don’t have to keep going with the project. You’ve only lost a month in terms of time, and you’ll have learned tons in those four weeks. For me, it’s totally worth it.

If you follow my blog, you know I ended up deciding to stick with Herezoth. It’s familiar, and it’s easy, and it’s what, before I heard about NaNo, I had intended my next novel to be. Truth be told, if I’d come up with a concept for story of a different genre, I might have taken the leap. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t, and I already had some ideas and some of the characters in my head for my next Herezoth novel. When I started outlining, that’s what I worked with, and that’s what I’ll write. I’m excited about it, even if I am a little disappointed I couldn’t think of a cool Christie-esque murder plot for a police thriller. Oh well! My sorcerers are pretty fun too, I think; at least for me.

If you’re doing NaNo this year and you’re a seasoned writer, are you trying out a new genre? Or are you keeping it familiar? I’m just curious…. Could be a fun discussion, and also a fun way for us all to network about our upcoming projects. Feel free to leave a comment.

And don’t forget: the first novel in my Herezoth trilogy, “The Crimson League,” happens to be free today through Wednesday on in e-book format! If you’re interested you can download it here.


10 responses to “NaNoWriMo: A Seasoned Writer’s Two Approaches

  1. I’m working on a fantasy novel this year, and even though I typically write fantasy, this one will make me step out of my comfort zone because it has a lot of sci-fi elements too and is executed on a wide scale setting. So far my novels have been limited to few characters and a narrow setting, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with this new one. =]

  2. I’m actually doing something different by sticking with what I did for the Aug Camp NaNo. Usually I don’t like writing in the same genre twice in a row, but I decided I was more excited about my dystopian sci-fi fantasy than the historical Christian romance I was originally going to do. That idea’s still on the back burner though!

  3. My first novelling foray was sci-fi YA, the second was fantasy YA, and this time around I’m going to attempt some children’s fantasy. So I guess I’m still staying in the same genre ballpark, but I’m going to knock down the reading level to children’s and see what happens 🙂

  4. I just downloaded “Crimson League” and look forward to reading it, although I am not sure when that will be, due to my review queue. It looks so good! 🙂

    • thank so much Rebecca! i hope you enjoy it whenever you get around to reading it. I know my schedule is so nuts I couldn’t read anything right now that I wanted to. Just stuff for oral exams 🙂

  5. I’m currently editing my NaNovel from 2006. I hope to be ready for a break in November. I’ll be working on something a little different than normal for me, but still within my comfort range. A romantic novel of people who knew each other in a past life.

    But, the whole idea of NaNo inspires me. I just have to keep reminding myself it’s November and I’m looking for quantity over quality in the rough draft. 🙂 I’m gonna go check out Crimson League right now.

    • best of luck with NaNo! Your idea sounds like a lot of fun…. something that would make a great movie as well as a book, in my opinion. (I’d watch it for sure.) Hope you have fun checking out my book!

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