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My-Novel-Writing-Month (or My-No-Wri-Mo)

Hello dear readers, it is I, The Crazy Writer, or, you know, Courtney.

I’m writing today because I’ve made it my goal to finish my mystery novel BY THE END OF JUNE. *Cue lighting and thunder as if by celestial decree*

No, seriously, it’s thunderstorm season in New Mexico and I am not being dramatic. Those words have been heard and acknowledged by the gods.

Spooky.

Anyway, here’s the story (and the details):

About, eh, five years ago, when I was still a lowly undergraduate at my local university, it occurred to me that I should write a novel, and that I should set that novel in my lovely home state. Why, you ask? Because I stumbled onto wordharvest.com, the former web HQ for the Tony Hillerman Prize (which can now be found here: http://www.hillermanprize.com/).

Since that fateful day, I have worked through not one, not two, but THREE iterations of the novel. Refining characters, throwing out crazy/newbie-mystery-writer-plots as I went. I also finished an undergraduate and a graduate degree during this time period, which in part accounts for the ridiculous amount of time I have spent just trying to find my story. I mean, you’d think after five years I would at least have a polished draft and a half-a-dozen rejections letters from literary agents. But no, I’ve got diddly squat (by which I mean, 10,150 words as of this afternoon).

And that is okay, because mystery is a hard genre to write (for all of the scoffing people do that it is “formulaic,” it takes planning, anal attention to detail, an excellent sense of realism, and an obscene amount of research to produce a well crafted mystery novel). I view this time as my apprenticeship, which I hope does not smack of hubris, because I won’t claim I’m done learning. Ever.

But, at this point, I  have a plot that not only works but works well. I know my characters and I know which ones have the most to lose, what motivates them, and what they need to go through as the plot progresses. I have finally figured this all out *crosses fingers* and I think it is time to get this baby written and polished and sent into the world.

I started this month with a mere 3365 words on this draft. In the past two days, I have more than tripled that. My goal is to write a MINIMUM of 15,000 words a week. I will update here and/or on Twitter (@cannfloyd) as I progress.

Updates on the Word War, and…Check this Out!

My friend A.L. Brown and I just finished week three of our word war (which she won, by the way, because I spent my writing time today working on a brand new blog project–but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Here are my thoughts so far: the word war has helped salvage an otherwise barren period of my writing year. It is hard to write during the holidays, as agent Rachelle Gardner notes in this post, and I don’t think I would have written 8,000 shiny new words if it hadn’t been for this little duel between writing buddies. I know, 8,000 is a pretty small number. But holiday writing time is pretty sparse, and when you’re a writer who is trying to finish a Master’s degree, take classes, and still have a bit of time with the family/friends/husband, you take anything you can get as far as word count goes.

That said, I aim to beat some writer butt in next week’s word war. You can follow my progress via my Twitter account–just search for @Cannfloyd.

AND NOW FOR MY AWESTRIKINGLY AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT:

I started a book blog.

A book blog that is actually my personal reading journal, in which I will chronicle ALL of the books I read this year and provide information like reading times and my impressions. I’m pretty sure I can read 150 books this year, easy. So call that my unofficial goal. I’ve also asked some pretty amazing people to join me as guest bloggers to help broaden the material on the blog, and also to help construct a section of the blog that is intended to help English grad students prep for dreaded Comprehensive Exams and/or GRE lit sections.

Check it out here: Read, Scribble, Revise