July National Novel Writing Month

Happy July!  I am currently thrilled for the following reasons:

  1. I am officially done with everything school related until August 16th (other than going in to check my mail and water my plants). 
  2. A friend of mine from high school has asked me to make pies and Italian cookies for her wedding in August, which is going to keep me rather busy (but I have a plan!).
  3. Last night I finished revising and editing the first half of my manuscript, thus completing a draft of what must be the first book (of two).  More on that another time.
  4. At the end of the month, the hubs and I will be heading to Gettysburg to do some serious feeding of my inner history geek.
  5. Did I mention I’m on summer vacation?
Well, turns out I have another reason to be excited, especially now that I’ve finished that huge chunk of R&E and can take a smallish break from my “darling”.
You’ve all heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), right?  You should have – I posted about it in November.  You know, it’s the month when you go crazy and try to hammer out a 50k novel in 30 days?  Yeah, that’s NaNoWriMo.
Well, did you know there’s a July version of it?  JulNoWriMo!
Yes, July Novel Writing Month is upon us.  The “contest” identifies itself as being “just like NaNoWriMo – only hotter.”  Because it’s July.  And in the northern hemisphere at least, that’s summer.  Which is usually hotter than November.
Unless you live in the tropics.
There are a few small differences.  First of all, you get 31 days to write instead of only 30.  Hey, that one day could make or break someone’s word count!  Second, the website is little more than its forums.  There are some resource pages, but overall, it’s a community website, and other than the spot in your profile to update your word count (and you’re on the honor system, by the way) and story summary, there isn’t a place to “share” anything about your book (at least not that I’ve seen yet).  For NaNo, you can give a lot more info about your book, including an excerpt, and the whole website is, well, more than its forums.
The biggest difference is that NaNoWriMo (the November WriMo) specifically states in its “rules” that you cannot write one word of narrative before November 1st.  You can outline, you can plot, you can draw pictures of your characters screaming in terror at the prospect of literary mayhem without your inner editor to hold the reins.  But for the July WriMo, the rules are a little relaxed on that score.  I quote from the “About” page:
Does [my novel] have to be a new novel, or can I continue my other novel? – As far as we’re concerned, this shouldn’t matter. If you want to finish a novel you’re already working on, great! Just write 50,000 more words.”
Now I personally think it would still be cheating if you pulled out a novel-in-progress that’s already at the 45k word mark and declare after a week, “I’m done!”  That defeats the purpose.  But if you have, say, only 2k words written, I guess you could theoretically start with that and not be breaking the rules.  Especially if you do some revising of that first two thousand words.
As with NaNo, JulNoWriMo has no prizes for completing your novel, other than the self-satisfaction of, well completing your novel.  But here’s why I’m particularly excited about this.
See, I’ve had this story idea brewing since, oh, 2005, and other than a hastily scribbled chapter in a notebook, done on vacation that summer, I’ve never done anything with it.  A couple weeks ago, I resurrected the chapter and played around a bit.  Since this little work in progress is still nascent, I could be persuaded that I am breaking no rules by using this story.
Here’s my plan, people.
I’m going to use JulNoWriMo to hammer out this new little darling.  Thanks to my handy-dandy writing software, which allows me to project a desired word count and then figures daily averages and whatnot, I need to write approximately 1500 words a day to finish by July 31st.  Then – watch out, novel contests and agents and small publishers!  I might just send that baby your way!
Can I do it?  No idea.  But it will give me a break from my “big baby” for a while.

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