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NaNoWriMo Begins Again! *yikes

Today’s the day, November 1st. Time to write with literary abandon.

Say what now? Let me explain. No. There is too much, let me sum up (*million points if you got that reference.)

For the last several years, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) NaNoWriMo is a personal challenge you make to yourself to write 50,000 words in the month of November, or 1,667 words a day.

Ready or not, here we go!

Usually, I have a project planned out months in advance for what I work on for the month of November. It’s always a first draft and I almost always just barely make my daily word count. This year, however, my plan for NaNoWriMo was tossed out of the window. Instead, my publisher has encouraged me to focus on beefing up a story that was at 55,000 words and bring it up to 80,000 by the end of November.

Now, even those poor at math know that 80,000 minus 55,000 words does not equal NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 words in 30-day criteria. Noted. However, time is of the essence for this request, so I’m putting the project I had planned for November’s challenge and putting the addition of these 25,000 words as the priority as a necessary evil.

IF, I hit that 80,000-word count by mid-November, then I will shift gears and focus on adding 25,000 words either on the original project OR another project that also needs some heavy revisions. So, there is a plan, just not a liniar story, which is a first for me.

What’s also a first for me is that I’m at a new day job so the hours I used to devote to NaNoWriMo in the past will not be the same as it was. On the surface, 1,667 doesn’t seem like much. But trying to write 1,667 words in my one power hour each day… Might not happen ha. BUT, I should still make the 80,000 goal if I keep on target which means maybe I won’t win NaNoWriMo, but if all goes well, I’ll still meet my goals. And that to me is a win.

Oh, and also, I have a book releasing in 15 days, and I have a book signing I’m going to be at. Um… when am I supposed to write all these words again? I guess it’s a good thing I have no social life. 😉 But like, seriously!

That’s all for now. Apparently, these words won’t write themselves.

Danielle/Dani Bannister author and attempter of NaNoWriMo

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Winner, Winner, chicken dinner: Nano report

Well, after 30 long days, I have done it. I finished another year as a ‘winner’ of Nanowrimo.

Woot Woot!

I started the month out with only the whiff of an idea. I didn’t plot out my story before I wrote it. I just wrote… still with a beat sheet at my side so I wasn’t going in completely blind. Some days it was a slog, while others the words just flowed. That’s the beauty of Nano. Every day, you don’t know what you’ll be faced with.

Now that this first draft of a new series is done, it’s going to sit on my computer and ignored (so I can forget the story), and then later next year I’ll dig it out and start a second draft with fresh eyes.

Tomorrow, December 1, I’ll pick up those stories I’d pushed aside for Nano. No rest for the wicked.

Until next time, my peeps.

Danielle Bannister, author and Nanowrimo winner!

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November News: Here’s what is happening.

With only a few weeks of November left, I thought it would be a good idea to give a quick rundown of all of the goings-on this month!

First up, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, I’ll be part of a panel of indie authors over at Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance from 10:00-11:30 AM. If you’re an aspiring author or just getting your feet wet in the indie market and have questions, this is a virtual talk for you. The workshop is free for members and only $5.00 for non-members.


Also in November, I’ve cut the price of one of my back titles, The ABCs of Dee by 40%. That sale will go away at the end of the month, so if you have been on the fence about this book, now is the time to nab it as I don’t do sales that often.

A snarky rom-com

I’m also still working on the Bound By Books Podcast and this month, I did one on Nanowrimo (more on that in a second.) If you missed it, you can check that out either on Spotify or YouTube!

With me and co-host Sherri Hayes

And speaking of Nanowrimo, (National Novel Writing Month) I’m still on track to write 50K words in the month of November. I wasn’t going to do Nano this year, but since I was waiting on an edit from my editor and the manuscript I was going to release in December was pushed back a bit, I found I had a little time to spend on another project. No clue where this story might live in my release schedule in the coming years, but so far I’m having fun with this steamy romance!


And finally, it’s not too late to place an order for signed paperbacks. They make GREAT gifts and with a paper shortage, why not take advantage of my backstock?

Something for just about everyone on your list!

Phew, that’s actually a lot for one month! I hope you are all well and I’ll see you next week!

Danielle Bannister, author and doer of all the things

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NaNoWriMo begins again. I’m not ready.

I’m not sure how November snuck up on me, but here we are. It’s Nov. 2 and NaNoWriMo is in full swing. For those unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers are challenged to write 50,000 in 30 days. There is no monetary gain if you win. Just a PDF you can print of and say “I did this thing.”

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for several years now. I’ve won some and I’ve lost some. But every year I start a project with at least SOME idea of what I’m going to be working on for the month. Not this year.

This year, I logged onto my computer and saw someone post about Day 1 of Nano, and I was like… oh, crap. It’s Nov. 1st already. I HAVEN’T PLANNED! I don’t have an outline, let alone an idea!

Cue the panic. I posted a picture of my worried mug on social media in fact lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a stinking clue what to write about.

@daniellebannisterbooks

Nanowrimo starts today…who else is regretting their life choices already? #writersoftiktok #booktok #nanowrimo2021 #authorsoftiktok

♬ original sound – daniellebannisterbooks

Thankfully, my dear friend, Kelly Hewins, came to the rescue with a nugget of an idea: Your protagonist inherits a bunch of money, but it comes with a catch.

Wheels began to churn in the old noggin. A story scene popped into my brain. And just like that, I was off and running for day 1, easily making the daily word count goal of 1,667 words a day. In fact, I wrote a whole extra word just to snub my nose at the challenge. Ha.

Using that first bit of words, I was able to break out my notebook (you know how I love my book notebooks) and start thinking a bit harder about how this story might develop. I feel more prepared now.

Does this mean I feel confident that I will ‘win’ this year now that I have an idea? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I don’t typically write every day, nor do I typically write that many words in a day, so this will still be a challenge to finish a ROUGH first draft. The key is to just write. Don’t edit. Don’t go back. Don’t second-guess. There isn’t enough time during this challenge to do that. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to Write All the Words, Danielle.

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Finished Nanowrimo. Now what?

As most of you probably know, I spent the month of November participating in NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words in 30 days.) It’s a personal competition with yourself that I’ve taken part in for the last several years. You win some, you lose some.

This year, I was determined to win. I even wrote an outline in October and started a book brain to go with it (more on that next week.) I’d mapped out writing time in my handy-dandy planner, and bizarrely, my kids ended up with their father for the entire month! (That never happens, but hey, life does through curve balls.) Literally, all I had to do was show up each day and write the ideas I’d already mapped out in my outline. Easy, right?

Well, it was. At first. The soggy middle was still the soggy middle and when you have a time crunch like Nanowrimo, there is no time to ponder, mull, or sleep on how to liven up the parts that feel sluggish. (If they are sluggish to write they absolutely will be sluggish to read.) Push on! That’s the nano motto. Just word vomit now, clean it up in draft two. So I did. Oh, did I word vomit.

A daily journey through Nano

Around day 19, I discovered a flaw in my oh so tailored outline. I was already at the end of our hero’s story, but I still had 11 more days worth of writing to do (or about 18K words.) Whoops. So, I did what any desperate writer in this situation would do. I switched the point of view of the story. At chapter 19 of a 24 chapter book! *Head desk. Hey, it’s Nano, we do stupid things in an attempt to ‘push on.’

I didn’t resist the idea of switching POV, because honestly, even when outlining, my mind wanted to switch POVs at that same spot. I decided to go with my initial thought and shake it up . While it worked to get me over the finish line a day early, it has also caused me two very big headaches.

  1. When I switched POV to a guy, there were suddenly sex scenes in a story that up to now, didn’t have sex in them. Not a problem in and of itself, but this was supposed to be part of a series of books and the first in the series did NOT have sex, so to keep the feel of the series, either I take out the sex in this book (a lot of words) or add some to the first story.

2. Because this is part of a series, should I also switch POV for the first book? Or keep the POV consistent to one POV for both (I’ve written myself into a corner in book 2 if so…)

Two very big problems to think through. But not today. Or tomorrow. Or even this month. Because what happens now is that the manuscript gets shelved. For at least a month. I need to let that story marinate. Let my mind ponder the choices ahead. Until then, there are three other projects in varying stages of revisions that demand my attention. My latest Nano baby will just have to wait its turn to be cleaned up.

Until then, I’ll just admire my new award and ignore the fact that it will be a b*tch to revise come draft two.

Danielle Bannister, author, and Nanowrimo winner

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The Last Leg

At the time of this writing, there are six days left in the NaNoWriMo challenge (National Novel Writing Month-30 days to write 50,000 words.) So far, I am on par to finish, maybe even a day or two early, IF I can find enough story to make it to 50K.

Currently, I’m sitting at 40K and the end is nigh. There may or may not be another 10K words left in the story to write, which isn’t uncommon in my first drafts. They tend to be thin, skeletal beings of mostly dialogue. Then in subsequent drafts, I fill in the spaces in between when the characters speak, generally adding 10-15 K with the second draft and another 2-5 K in subsequent drafts until I land on something around 60-70K words (unless it’s a novella.) Since this is my pattern, finishing the first draft under 50K is my norm, I do worry that my sitting at 40K with that ending close ahead won’t be enough to cross the finish line and print my coveted winner certificate.

My 3 official wins and the one my daughter made me for getting sooo close.

This year, I planned ahead, something I have never done for nano before. I outlined a story (loosely) and carved out time to write in my planner. I even bought and wrapped up writing goal gifts to keep me motivated then asked my reader group over at Write All the Words, Danielle, to pick my prize! (Yes, I’m a dork.)

Only number 6 and my 50K prize remain!

At the end of the day, NaNoWriMo is a competition with yourself. It’s a challenge to see if you can make writing daily a priority in your life. Every year it’s that gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) reminder that if you want to write, you need to make space for it in your life. That reminder is good for us all to remember. If we have a passion or something we love to do, we need to make space for it. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day. We have to honor that creativity; that passion. NaNoWriMo is what jogs my memory of that. If only for thirty days.

Danielle Bannister, author, and NaNoWriMo participant

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In it to win it

Just a brief update as the hours are short…

It’s day 20 of Nanowrimo (NAtional NOvel WRiting MOnth) and I need to reach 50,000 words by Nov. 30 to WIN. I currently sit at 33,362, which is right on target.

With ten days still left to go, I wonder, do I have the remaining 16,638 in me? That leaves me about 10,000 more words of story to climb, then the crisis…which I’m still not sure what that is yet (ha!) and then the conclusion. In theory, it can work but only time will tell.

Some days this journey feels like a slog-fest (soggy middle) but the beginning was fun (which there were higher word counts than required.) I’m hoping this end of the race will be smooth. I have ideas. So that is something?

That’s all for this week. I must rest my brain and fingers for tomorrow’s word count which may or may not happen with all the chaos that is life with teenagers.

Danielle Bannister, writer and typer of words

writing

The Soggy Middle

No, I’m not referring to my stomach (though I could be.) The soggy middle, in the writing world, means that middle part of your story that sort of isn’t right. It feels disjointed, not connected to the energy of the beginning and too far removed from the end when the will to write returned.

That is the place where I am currently at with my Nanowrimo (NAtional NOvel WRiting MOnth) project for November. Despite having an actual outline this year so such a middle wouldn’t occur…here we are. It’s like a trampoline at this point. Am I worried? No. Annoyed? yes.

Five years I’ve participated in Nanowrimo. I’ve only ‘won’ 2 times. (You ‘win’ if you can write 50,000 words in November.) My two certificates are on my wall. The third, on the right, is one my daughter made for me when my hands cramped up to the point I couldn’t finish. (I now have an ergonomic keyboard. Lesson learned.)

There is plenty of wall space to add my third winning certificate. That means I need to muddle through my soggy middle and not get hung up on the fact that I go off on tangents or nothing really interesting is happening at the moment. It doesn’t matter in draft one, and it certainly doesn’t matter for NaNoWriMo. Word count is the game, not a finished manuscript. You can’t improve upon what isn’t done. NaNoWriMo forces you to get out of your own way, not overthink your plot, and just write.

My current count before today’s words are written.

As you can see, I’ve been doing just a little above what I needed to write daily (1,667 words) but the last few days…I’m doing the bare minimum, which may be my downfall. It’s only November 13! There are going to be days I won’t have time to sit down and right. I need to get ahead of this soggy middle and onto the good stuff so I have the momentum to get a day or two ahead. Otherwise, I’ll be writing on Thanksgiving, and no one wants to do that.

You may be wondering if I plan on using the words I wrote for the NaNoWriMo count. I could…but I won’t. It isn’t part of the project I’m working on and thus, would be going against my goal of getting this YA draft done this month.

I’m off to write 1667 words…or maybe even a few more. Until next week friends!

Danielle Bannister, Author and counter of words this month