NaNoWriMo: Halftime

  by Cami Ostman



When the idea to spearhead the round robin NaNoWriMo novel jumped into my head sometime in late September, I got all fluttery inside. I’m such a sucker for this kind of thing. The idea of working together with a group of other people to get all of us from the starting line through to the finish is alluring. I mean, what’s better than being an author–the person who answers the question of what happens next in a story? The only thing better is doing it with a team!

I guess a lot of people felt the same way we did. We’ve got over 50 authors working on two versions of the Hale family shenanigans in our novels respectively entitled No Rest for the Wicked, Take ONE and No Rest for the Wicked, Take Two.

In one version of the novel, there is a fire at the family compound and Eli, the patriarch, has to be taken to the hospital (where his youngest daughter is a doctor) for smoke inhalation

In the other version, Eli fakes a bankruptcy in order to discern who in his family truly loves him versus who hangs around just for what might turn out to be a hefty inheritance. Meanwhile, his mild mannered, childlike wife is having a secret affair.

As I watch through the lens of webmaster, I’ve made a number of observations:

1.  Writing something for others to read in real time is scary. Every day I field a flurry of frantic emails. “Can you tell me again how to get into the google document?” “I hope I didn’t do any harm to the story.” “Can I have someone help me write my chapter?” “Will you make sure I didn’t screw anything up?” To be honest, I haven’t had much time for proofreading, so I’ve simply had to remind everyone of this: This project is an act of ANTI-perfectionism. This is about writing with abandon. It’s about having fun and joining a community. It’s about playing with words and experiencing the complexity of story-telling.

2. Writing something for others to read in real time is brave. We’ve got both experienced and novice authors working together on this project. I, for one, am proud of how everyone has put him/herself out there. With utter abandon each writer has taken the proverbial baton and run with it, moving the stories forward and handing it off with gusto. In spite of the fear, everyone has come through.

3. There are a lot of smart, creative people in our virtual writing community. I am laughing my way through the cleverness and wit of every chapter. I’ve noticed how each person has brought his/her expertise and particular flare to the project and how, without exception, each author has been faithful to the spirit of the work.

4. This is fun.

And we’re only half way through! What have you noticed as a reader or writer of No Rest for the Wicked? If you’ve already written your chapter, what was it like for you? If you haven’t written your chapter yet, what are you worried about/excited to resolve or add? And we’ll ask this again at the end of the project, but what’s your advice for next year?

A big thanks to everyone who has participated in or is about to participate in the unfolding of these stories!