Why My NaNoWriMo’s Won’t Get Published

It’s November, and once more, I have participated in National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo), making this my fifth time.  I say participated not because I gave up, but because I have made word count and also reached the end of my story.

Of course, this being my fifth year, I’m taking a moment to look back and realize that it is very unlikely that any of these books I’ve written will ever be published.

The biggest reason why none of these will be published is the word counts of each.  None of these have managed to get that far past the 50,000 words required to finish NaNoWriMo as a winner.  This means that they fall just a little beyond the bare minimum word count to be considered a novel.  Even more so, the average is around 60,000 words minimum.  This is without editing (like all NaNoWriMos, they are first drafts).  Taking out the extraneous description, naming, and such, all five will undoubtedly end up at least 5,000 words less, probably more.

Of course, this brings up the next thing about these projects.  They are all first drafts.  This is the intention of NaNoWriMo, to give the author a first draft.  My problem is that once I am done with these projects, I don’t want anything to do with them again.  This, naturally, puts a bit of a crimp in the whole turning a first draft into a final draft concept.

With some of my NaNoWriMo projects, some of the issues are with the specific project themselves.  My first NaNoWriMo was called Son of the Swordsmaster, based off an idea and a character I’ve had rattling around in my head for some time.  The problem with this project is that it reads like a third or fourth book of a series.  This is, to be honest, a bit intentional.  I had written this book with the intention of going back and writing the first volumes at some point, like when I get an idea for those books.  That has yet to happen.

The second year, Paranormals Anonymous was the title of the project.  This idea combined a number of ideas that I had been thinking of, none of which really seems to want to exist independently.  This one remains in the unpublished drawer because of the location of the book.  I set the book in and around Boston.  The only problem is that I have numerous references to back alleys, which I am not sure if Boston actually has.

The third year was a special case.  I had originally intended on writing a romantic comedy about a young man falling in love with a young woman while both are working at a telethon.  This one was slightly autobiographical, at least in the sense that while working a telethon, I developed a crush on a girl who was also working the telethon (I was working the production side, she was working the charity side).  The problem I had with it was that I just really hated the main character, which is pretty bad since that main character was, more or less, me.  So, I ditched the idea a few days into November and just wrote a story involving vampires, werewolves and zombies.  Of course, this brings to light the fact that vampires, werewolves and zombies are far too over played in the media today (books, comics, movies, television, everything).  This project still does not even have a title.

Last year’s project was based on a comic book concept  I had.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  That was up until the idea started to peter out far too early in the story.  I did what anyone in my position would do when faced with the need to make a word count in a month.  I padded the bejesus out of it.  The already bloated character count grew bigger, as I brought in villains, heroes and supporting cast into the story.  It started to read more episodic than anything else I wrote for NaNoWriMo.  Considering the original concept, this is not surprising.  I also started to have problems with some of the characters, one of which is pretty much a multiple personality disorder sufferer with each personality manifesting its own power and look.  Keeping track of him was a pain.  Other characters showed up for a few chapters, then disappeared.  And the book has no real ending.  Endings are kind of important to novels.

When I went into this year’s NaNoWriMo, I had an idea in mind, one I had been working on since it came to me in a dream.  This one, also my fifth, was pretty much written with the intention of it never getting published.  It may show up as a blog, but I would never look to see it published.  There are far too many pop culture references in this book.  I don’t just mean the inclusion of Bedded By Her Lord, a personal in joke since year two.  I mean there are references to actual brand names, from Mentos, Freakies (an old brand of cereal), to Nerf.  In fact, Nerf plays such a major part of the story that it’s almost like an ad for Hasbro.  I did not stop there.  One of the characters is LL Cool J.  Not the real LL Cool J, but an LL Cool J that was pulled out of one of his music videos and trapped here.  Another character was imbued with the collective knowledge of Dr. Benton Quest from Jonny Quest.  There are liberal references to the Cineverse Cycle, a series of books written by Craig Shaw Gardner, who also makes an appearance in the book.  There is even an appearance of NaNoWriMo’s Traveling Shovel of Death.  As near as I can tell, if I were to try to clear all the pop culture brand references in this book, it would take me forever to do so, legally. It was also the most fun I had writing a NaNoWriMo, mostly because I just let go and wrote whatever I wanted, regardless anything.

There is always the possibility that I may finally settle down and start a rewrite process with one of these.  But, given how I tend to write, I really don’t see that happening anytime soon.  Regardless, I will undoubtedly have fun trying to think about what I will do for the next NaNoWriMo.

Who knows, maybe I’ll even finally write that romantic comedy I planned on for year three.

About chyrondave

Avid comic reader, amateur writer, music fan, and someone with opinions, lots of opinions.

Posted on November 19, 2011, in Creative, My Two Cents, NaNoWriMo, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Love how your ideas are so diverse :)
    Sounds like you definitely have a creative mind–fun!

  2. With all the doggone snow we have gotten recently I am stuck indoors, fortunately there is the internet, thanks for giving me something to do. :)

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Update « Nila E. White

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