Looking at NaNoWriMo 2014 and Facing the Decision

I, like many, have participated in NaNoWriMo for a number of years. It sounds like a big demand–write 50,000 words in a month. But really, it’s the fun part and not that tough. Some years I don’t hit 50k. But each effort results in a rough first draft. Since I started keeping track, the following, displayed by working covers with some working titles, have been my NaNoWriMo rough first drafts:


I’m shopping the first, after a major revision and several redrafts, around to publishers. It’s a young teen science-fiction adventure that both male and female middle-grade beta reader’s have just loved.

The second, after two major revisions and several redrafts and name changes, ultimately became Hearts in Ruin, and was published by Liquid Silver Books earlier this year and has received terrific reviews. It’s a contemporary archaeological mystery novel with strong romantic elements and an intriguing speculative back story.

The third (working title “Probe One”) has undergone at least two epic revisions and is nearly ready for its fourth rewrite, after which I think it will be ready for submission at around 120,000 words. It’s a fairly hard, suspenseful science fiction that, in my view, effectively questions our predictions of future and presumptions of purpose.

The fourth (working title “Flight of the Minuend”) has been redrafted once or twice since it was created and is in need of its first real major overhaul. I will get to that when I have time. It is a science-fiction romance in the extremely distant future. I like the pace and the characters. But there are many parts now swimming in my head that have not found their way to paper yet.

And the last is just a rough draft. It’s a science fiction fantasy adventure with some fun scenes and good characters, but a serious revision is in its future, and the options for those revisions are still percolating.

So the question is, with all those revisions and rewrites pending, including several novels in revision that were not born during NaNoWriMo, and with the short stories I’m working on, is 2014 a good year for another 50,000-words-in-a-month challenge? And if so, what should I write? Options include:

(a) The sequel to my published novel (already in the works, but needing at least 50k of additional writing and/or rewriting).

(b) A lawyer-based romantic suspense with a style somewhat like my published novel. I have three of these to choose from, but I’m pretty sure which one will be first.

(c) A gritty young adult novel involving trauma, mental illness and a love story. This has a great 10,000-word start, and I would simply take off from there.

(d) Another hard-core science fiction novel. I have a handful dying to be written.

(e) A surprise, like two of my earlier NaNoWriMos in which I simply started something on November 1 and kept typing.

I wonder, after all these years of a terrific and inspired NaNoWriMo program, how many writers are in similar boats. It’s not a bad quandary to suffer. I’m not complaining. But I thought at least I would share. Maybe I should consider one of those rewrites as a NaNoWriMo challenge.

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3 Responses to Looking at NaNoWriMo 2014 and Facing the Decision

  1. My personal preference is (b) because I LOVE lawyer/legal romance or romantic suspense! But perhaps for sellability your best bet is (c) if you made it NA instead of YA. I just read about 6 NA books, and the characters tend to have really serious issues. The genre seems to be selling really well. One I just read is KA Tucker’s Ten Tiny Breaths, which has 900 reviews on Amazon. It has 37,000 ratings and over 3,500 reviews on Goodreads. The characters–both H&h–are messed up. Whatever you decide, I think it’s great you have all these different projects underway.

  2. J. C. Conway says:

    All good points, Sheri. The NA idea sounds good. But don’t the H/h need to be older than high school? These two messed up individuals are high-school age, and that has a lot to do with the plot.
    What I’m now thinking about is maybe a revision of one of my others as my NaNo project. Have to think about it. But I’ve got 14 days to mull it over!

  3. J. C. Conway says:

    I could also try:
    (f) an anthology of short stories. I’ve got short story ideas coming out of my ears, after all this time with novels and revisions…

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