Friday, December 4, 2015

Assessing National Novel Writing Month by Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman

Assessing National Novel Writing Month

Some of you have just come staggering out of NaNoWriMo. The past month is a haze. You now have a very rough draft, a family that is tired of eating pizza, and a house you were barely able to throw together for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. Everyone is still grousing.

Happy holidays. Merry Christmas.

Writing a novel is a time to listen to the voices, disappear into your imaginary world, and become acquainted with your characters. But you've done this while running headlong into two sacred holidays that are weighted with the best pitches Madison Avenue can throw at us.

You're feeling a bit schizophrenic, as if you really might have tipped over into the crazy novelist stereotype. Your teenage daughter still isn't speaking to you because you were novel-distracted as she spilled her heart to you mid-draft. You hope your husband can find it in his heart to forgive you and that your younger children didn't suffer too much emotional damage. You had to meet that word count.

How did you get into this mess? Where did all the craziness begin?

The history of NaNoWriMo:

National Novel Writing Month was started in San Francisco in 1999 for these reasons: "We wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twenty-somethings start bands. Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn’t have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists."

If you're not a single twenty-something trolling for dates, you're writing with purpose and God's leading, and you do have something better to do in November, you may find NaNoWriMo doesn't work for you.

Personally, I can't think of a worse time of year to draft a novel. I’m glad I didn’t know about NaNoWriMo when I was first learning my process. By the time I did hear of it, I knew it wouldn’t work for me.

But, what about you?

If you participated, and it was a disaster that causes you to rue the day you ever heard of NaNoWriMo, take heart.

Likewise, if you participated, and it gave you the kick in the pants you needed to finally write that story, take heart.

Learning is part of becoming a successful writer. No matter the outcome, you have grown wiser. You can now write about that wisdom gained and utilize what you learned.

Writers are an independent breed. We must each find our own voice and discover the source of our writing mojo. We must each develop our own method. For some, writing is a mostly solitary, thoughtful activity completed at our own pace, not as part of a social movement. For others, writing in groups with a national focus is what we need to make it happen.

We must carefully consider our techniques. We must be purposeful. What works for one writer will not necessarily work for all, and maybe not even for that writer later in life.

Make your choices wisely. Learn from your mistakes.

As Christian writers, we attempt to write while cultivating thriving families, healthy marriages, and deepening walks with Christ. NaNoWriMo may or may not be the best way to accomplish those goals, or it might, depending on your process and who you are as a writer.

What do you think?

Did you participate? What did you learn? Will you do it again?

Nudged toward evil by Satan, Cain 's hard-hearted hubris results in Abel's murder and Lilith's broken heart when he is banished, splitting the family and propelling mankind toward ever-increasing violence as their siblings seek revenge. Crushed by what he's done, Cain runs, certain he's destroyed Lilith, his parents, and the entire family. With Satan hounding his every move and no idea of the forces arrayed against him, can Cain ever find God after he's committed a sin of such magnitude? Can he ever be forgiven?

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S. - Wakita, Oklahoma, of "Twister" fame. There her parents met. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God's love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Fallen is her second novel, Refuge her first. Melinda shepherds women in church and prison ministry and writes inspirational material on her biweekly blog at . With her family she is involved with Mission India, rescuing orphans and providing theological and job training for impoverished students—