As NaNoWriMo 2015 gears up for its final push, I remember last year’s project and all the things that have happened since. To say that NaNo 2014 was unprecedented is a definite understatement.
Like many writers around the world, I look forward to participating in NaNo every November. (Don’t know what NaNoWriMo is? Learn more here.) In the past I’ve banged out full-length epic fantasies and short stories featuring everything from zombies to homicidal horses in the 30 day time frame. I didn’t do anything like that for NaNo 2014.
I wrote a series.
Okay, so I didn’t finish the entire series by November 30. But I did finish book one, Changing Teams, in 19 days. In the remaining eleven I outlined the next three books and wrote a tie-in short story. Yeah, this series was happening in a big way.
I plunged ahead into book two, but when I was halfway in I decided it should be book three. Then I switched the protagonists for books two and four and added some backstory to book three, which meant that I needed to make some changes to book one. In essence, I was writing the entire series at once.
This was uncharted territory for me. I’ve written three series in the past—one epic fantasy, two urban fantasies—and I’ve always followed the same formula:
- Write book one (meaning the whole process including beta reading, editing, etc.)
- Check out the market, determine which agents and publishers are buying works similar to mine
- Write query letters, synopses, and submit away
- Commence nail biting
- If book one is picked up, consider series potential
This time around, instead of waiting for an agent or publisher to express interest in book one, I had the entire series in my back pocket. When I queried Limitless Publishing–who ultimately signed the series–they asked if there were sequels to Changing Teams. My response? “Yes, and they’re all ready to go.”
Is writing an entire series simultaneously hard? You bet it is. But it’s also a relatively simple trick from which I’m already reaping awards. And none of this would have come about without my participation in NaNoWriMo. My take-aways from this are as follows:
- NaNoWriMo forces you to think–and write–outside the box
- If an idea grabs you, go with it, at least for a little while
- Don’t be afraid to do things differently.
As for this year’s NaNo, i’m on track to finish the sequel to a previously unpublished urban fantasy. does this mean I’ll finish another series before I query it? Maybe.
What are your NaNoWriMo success stories? Share in the comments!
Changing Teams – available now http://amzn.to/1MAlCuE
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