Post-NaNoWriMo Disorder

with 6 Comments

Yes. I did NaNoWriMo this November for the first time.


No. I actually didn’t die, and it was unexpectedly quite fun!

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) check it out. The goal is to write 50,000 words in November. I reached the objective eight days early with just a little work left till the completion of the story. And thus I have a novel!

My novel is nameless, though not completely faceless. Here is the cover I made to put on the website.

Rhetoric.pngIt looks a bit homemade, but I used at least four different images so I’m happy for now. I was looking for a cool one word title and came up with “Rhetoric” for no good reason. What does it have to do with my story?

Nothing. So for now at least, I’ve rejected it. I’ll look back on the finished product and pick something that fits.

Sometimes I invent the perfect title with multiple story possibilities for the name. For instance I came up with Company Green and tossed it around between several story ideas: a robin hood retelling (where Robin is a secret government agent and operates within the bounds of law–his men wearing Lincoln green); a story about a medieval regiment of flying soldiers (with similarly green cloaks/wings); and even briefly an account of the Murian exiles (a fantastical race who must speak in whispers to avoid causing earthquakes). Don’t laugh when I publish a nonfiction work on the environmental effects of big business under the same name.

This story however didn’t start with a title. In short, I decided to christen my novel Novel X until I find the missing answer.

I started reading Novel X to one of my sisters and the truth… well, it’s about what I expected. First impressions: flying 80 MPH down a pot-holed dirt road in an urban-terrain vehicle with no suspension.


I now know the meaning of “first draft”. Do you want to know? Are you ready? Here it is: rough draft. Yep. Really rough. Like the kind of rough that takes skin and leaves marks. Ahhh!!

But wait! Hold the sedatives and the straightjacket. I’m not going nuts yet. I have a team of writers, editors, general creatives, and snack suppliers (you know who you are). They’re not paid staff; but I sure couldn’t do this without them, so they have to stay.

Thus armed, I calm myself and begin sorting through a novel sized trash heap.

The complexities and inner workings of a good story from premise to theme, from characters to story (and sentence!) structure put me slightly in awe of anyone who manages to get it right the first time. It’s supposed to be an acquired skill, people!

All of that to say, it was really fun; and I enjoyed interacting with all of my writing buddies. Thank you for your encouragement and competition!

I’ll share some details on the story itself in another post.

Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? How did it go?

6 Responses

  1. Sarah Grace
    | Reply

    The cover art looks really intriguing! Makes me want to read it! 😀 And the Robin Hood retelling . . . oh my goodness! I hope you do that one! It sounds amazing!!!! 🙂

    • Paul Willis
      | Reply

      Thank you! That idea is still one of my favorites but it has contenders for being the next project.

  2. Anna
    | Reply

    Love that you used a picture of an explosion to describe “post-NaNo”, Paul. ;P And don’t worry, your novel is already wonderfully great! It just needs a bit more work to be a best seller. 😉
    Thanks for being my fellow Rhino! <3

    • Paul Willis
      | Reply

      Thanks Anna! It was a lot of fun. Keep writing!

  3. Allison Tebo
    | Reply

    LOVE THIS POST!!!! ‘races away to show it to twin…another NaNoWriMo survivor’ You have really got a way with words, Paul! This post was awesome!

    I saw excerpts from Novel X…I thought it looked great!!!

    • Paul Willis
      | Reply

      Thank you Allison. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of your writing. 🙂

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