April 4, 2014

What do you do with your NaNoWriMo novel?

By Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers

What do you do with your NaNoWriMo novel?

The start is so exciting and for several weeks, the constant stream of writing flows almost beyond thought.  This can be a good thing -- to let your fingers fly on the keys and not edit or judge the words. The quantity of words alone is amazing.

But what do you do with it when you are finished?

Growing up our mother had a pantry, a closet where food was stored. We would cook fresh food from the store supplemented with dry goods and canned goods from the pantry. 

The Nano Novel for us becomes the pantry. Not a complete book but a treasure trove of words to draw from as we compose books going forward.

Three of the characters in our upcoming book The Shepherd’s Song came from NaNoWriMo two years ago. The ideas were only a beginning, images recorded: A young man following a red beret down a city street. A woman fleeing her abuser sitting in a tattoo parlor. An older woman in an assisted living facility trying to write a children’s book. Beginnings. But great beginnings.

In the book we are currently, writing two characters had their beginnings in last year’s efforts. A clown struggling to find his identity. A woman on a Ferris wheel with a fear of heights.

The images from that burst of creative flow can be powerful and can come onto the page with depth and dimension. Settings come; bits of dialog, scenes unfold. Somehow, for us they are pieces -- not a whole. 

This year, no NaNoWriMo we’re still working from the pantry of the last two years. The pantry is still chocked full of ideas from that previous year’s burst of creativity. Maybe next year we’ll try again.
Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers were born into a writing family, and began at an early age critiquing manuscripts for their mother, Newbery winner, Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first novel for adults, The Shepherd’s Song, released March 11, 2014 by Howard Books. They live in Georgia. You can connect with Betsy and Laurie on their website

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