Monday, October 29, 2007


Since you're a writer, you probably know that November is National Novel Writing Month, where thousands of authors, both newbie and pro, sign up at to try and write 50k words in 30 days.

Those familiar with me, or with this blog, know that I write pretty fast. In fact, I've written two books this year. The first, AFRAID, is a horror novel that will be coming out in January 2009 (more on that soon.) The second, FUZZY NAVEL, is book #5 in the Jack Daniels series, coming out in June 2008.

November is pretty busy for me. I've got to go to Delaware for a book festival, Wisconsin for Murder in Muskego, and Indiana for an ILF meeting. I also have two novellas due for anthologies that invited me, and one of them is 10k words.

So, naturally, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

I have a specific reason for doing this. My contract with my publisher is complete when I turn in Jack #6 in March 2008. I'd like to also have Jack #7 done by that time. That way, if I don't get the offer I'm looking for, I'll have a complete manuscript to shop around. I believe a finished book is a better bargaining chip than a proposal or an outline.

Being between contracts is a scary time for a writer, and it can often last weeks or even months. So I'm going to write Jack #7, set it aside, and then in February write Jack #6, which my publisher is expecting.

I figure I have 24 free days to get 50,000 words done. I don't have an outline for this book, but I do have a pretty solid idea that should be fun to write.

And just to make it interesting, if I don't make my quota, I'll shave my head and post a video of it on YouTube.

Who says writing isn't exciting?

Watch this blog for bi-weekly progress reports.


Daniel Hatadi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniel Hatadi said...

If you don't make your quota, I'll shave my head too.


Bobby Mangahas said...

Yeah, I think I'll be NaNoWriMo too. It should be an interesting thing. Although, to be honest, I think it will be more interesting (and fun) to watch you shave your head on YouTube. ;)

Stacia Kelly said...

Welcome to the insanity that is nano ;) We do sprints daily if you ever want to kill yourself three times a day and have the 50k done halfway thru the month. I did my first nano with a broken shoulder.

Can't wait to read what you come up with!!!


Deb said...

I love NaNoWriMo. I did it for the first time last year and I didn't win. But I learned a lot of what not to do during NaNoWriMo, so this year I plan to win and win early.

Any chance of getting your username so I can add you to my buddies and watch your word count?

Josephine Damian said...

So, naturally, I signed up for NaNoWriMo.


I believe a finished book is a better bargaining chip than a proposal or an outline.

Good to know.

Go, Joe, go! NaNo! NaNo!

I wonder what my college advisor would think if I wrote my master's thesis for NaNo? :-)

Jim Winter said...

I did it in 2005. I survived. Here's what happened.

I did NaNo, not expecting anything to come of the book. I wrote 55K in 13 days.

I'd already completed the third book on my contract, and needed to start shopping for a new publisher.

I took four months to write that book.

Agents hated it.

My publisher folded. I sent the book that was supposed to come out to agents. "Good, but we want..." One of those agents (you probably know him, Joe) even called. Still no takers, but a nice ego boost.

I revised the NaNo project. In fact, I stopped revising at a conference long enough to leave my hotel room, come downstairs, and pitch the NaNo project to a publisher (They later requested the ms. Still have it.).

Guess which one landed me my agent.

Mark Terry said...

Merely confirming what I've thought all along: Joe Konrath is insane.

Besides that, congrats on AFRAID. Looking forward to hearing details, my friend.

Amanda said...

Good luck JA!!!!!!!!!

I would not shave my head for a bazillion dollars LOL

But for fifty bucks I might finally get around to shaving my legs! Ha ha I can NOT believe I really just said that! Just kidding LOL

Have not heard of NaNoWriMo before it sounds like a BLAST!!!


Cyn Bagley said...

I signed up too. This will be my first time. I know that I can write a 60K novel in 3 months (no edits). So I think that I can do it. :-)

Aimlesswriter said...

As much as I'd like to see the head shaving I have no doubt you'll make your goal. I've seen how fast you write by following the JD series.
Could you shave your head just for fun???

James Goodman said...

I'm just dropping by to wish you a Happy Halloween. :D

Nick Kelly said...

I'm right (write) there with you, until the shave your head part. My brother has that look, I think I'll keep my hair.

I did NaNo for the first time last year and loved it. It also provided me proof that editing is a B*tch! Still, on top of the job, the family, the music and the school, I signed up too. I couldn't miss out.

Best of luck with a new contract. Heaven knows we all want more Jack!


Anonymous said...

Good luck on this, it was great stumbling upon your site through your NaNoWriMo post.

I did it in 2005 as well, and I have to agree with Jim Winter--if you revise the heck out of your NaNoWriMo draft, you can end up with a great product.

I'm still working on that revision process, but it was the best sustained writing experience I ever had. Good luck, and I'll keep reading.

Mary said...

Congratulations on AFRAID.

I was really impressed by the pitch when you posted it here a while ago. And it stayed with me.

Good luck with NaNo!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Joe,

I'm doing my first NaNo and will use you as my inspiration! well, not exactly you, but the thought that I am super happy that I did not challenge myself to the tune of a shaved head!!

Good luck to us all. See you over there.


Peter L. Winkler said...

And then there's the otherNaNoWriMo: National No Writing Month.

Jay said...

lol i did nanowrimo last year!

Jay said...

care to trade links?

Rebecca said...

Good Luck with Nano!

This will be my third year, and I'm trying to do one full book and half of another, because I couldn't decide which to write.

(Funny, I was going to suggest you do Nano when you posted about having so much to write a few weeks ago!)

Good luck on your wordcount! I'm at 8850 so far :)

Simon Haynes said...

This is my third year doing Nano, and I've been promoting it heavily to new and established writers alike.

What I find best about Nano is that I have to write 50,000 words, not a carefully plotted novel. I can go wild every day, follow side tracks, dump in new characters, etc, etc, and because I'm writing an ongoing series nothing really goes to waste.

For example, my Nano 2005 and 2006 efforts turned into one finished novel plus bits and pieces of the next two.

On the other hand, when I'm writing to order for my publisher, I really have to stay focused and stick to the outline if I'm going to meet my deadlines.

Anyway, best of luck to all Nano-ers, and if you want to add me as a writing buddy you'll find me right here:

(I'm also the guy behind the free yWriter software you may have seen mentioned on the forums.)