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In honor of the last day of NaNoWriMo, here’s a guest post by Penny Higgins, Municipal Liaison of RocNaNo:

Well, I did it. I did it again. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and I won.

So… what did it win, Alex?

A hearty handshake and the knowledge that I can crank out a 50,000 word novel in one month.


So, what is NaNoWriMo, you ask?

NaNoWriMo is the acronym for the National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge put up by the Office of Letters and Light that sponsors several month-long writing challenges fro adults and youth.

I first heard of NaNoWriMo last November. For giggles, I signed up to write a little story that I had jumbling around in my head. That story has now expanded in what will likely be come the Herongarde trilogy, for which I have a rough draft of the first book (Prince of Herongarde), and a nearly complete draft of the second book (Mark of Herongarde). The third book (Queen of Herongarde) is still rattling around in my head. I’ll probably have to work on it during one or two of the Camp NaNoWriMo events during the summer of next year. You can find little snippets and bits and pieces of this trilogy on my blog under the Herongarde tag.

It’s through NaNoWriMo that I discovered that I actually have a great passion for writing fiction (and an inverse-passion for writing technical literature). I’m so glad that I can (and do) actually call myself a writer. I have two complete novels under my belt. Not so many people can say that!

I’ve enjoyed exploring life as an author so much this year, that I decided to join NaNoWriMo as a Municipal Liaison this year. This basically puts me in charge of getting everyone to play nice with each other (which is never really a problem), to be a cheerleader, and to organize events as much as possible. There’s lots of e-mails and forums to read and respond to. I’ve quite enjoyed the experience and am really grateful for having the opportunity to meet and interact with other budding authors.

This year’s novelling experience was a little different than last year’s. After writing 50k words last year, I wasn’t even halfway through the book. Even after a round of Camp NaNoWriMo, I still wasn’t done. This year, I started with something fresh. The book is currently called “The Masters,” but I suspect I might need to change the title. There are a couple of snippets of it as well on my blog. I managed to wrap the whole thing up almost exactly at 50k words (50049 is what it verified at). I actually finished the whole story.

Then this weird thing happened. I had grown so fond of my characters – all of them – that as I wrote the last sentences, I started to bawl. It was a happy ending. They were all parting ways to go on with their lives. And I was bawling. That has never happened before. It was an amazing experience.

I wonder if that will happen when I finally finish the Herongarde trilogy? I guess I’d better finish it, so that I can find out.