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January 2014

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A love letter to NaNoWriMo

Whew. Today marks November 30, the end of National Novel Writing Month. And, for the first time since 2006, I did it! I passed 50k and finished my novel this morning. Many of the words were written in airports and on planes and in hotel rooms, but the book is done. As I happily note all the NaNo'ers tweeting about their victory, I am also bracing myself for the onslaught of naysayers. The ones who say things like: "Anything you write in 30 days is crap." Well, I'm here to say that most first drafts are crap. But here's my take on it: I recently got a new book deal with Feiwel and Friends for two more YA novels, the first of which is The Detour. I sold the book based on a synopsis, so it still had to be written. Given that it is due in March, that meant I needed to start writing soon. So I did. I spent all of November drafting The Detour. That first draft will suck, yes. But I would rather spend only 30 days on the draft than have it languish over the holidays and into the new year, and then it is February and I'm still not done and I've spent 4 months on a piece of crap draft.
Guess what, naysayers? Thanks to NaNo, I have a completed draft of The Detour. And it is not entirely crap, because every day I went over everything else I had written before starting in again. So Chapter One has been revised at least 30 times, Chapter Two at least 29 times, Chapter Three at least-- well, you get it right? Yes, the last week of writing needs a lot of help, but I AM DONE WITH THE DRAFT. I can now spend the next few months revising and perfecting, versus sitting here thinking, "OMG, I have to write the draft."  So thank you NaNoWriMo! A heavily revised version of The Detour will hit bookshelves Fall 2015.
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