Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Avengers, NaNoWriMo, and the Benefits of Writing Two Books at Once—A Message to my Fellow Wrimos

Status:  Since no one asked me to write a NaNoWriMo pep talk, I have taken it upon myself to do so. And to my non-writing readers, I promise, come December, I will write about something other than books for a change. But for now, it’s November, and this is what’s on my mind. Also, be forewarned of mild Avengers spoilers.


Glossary of relevant terms: 
Wrimo—An intrepid adventurer on the path to 50K words.

Nanoverse—The universe of NaNoWriMo, known for its magical properties and slightly insane inhabitants.

NaNoing—The act of participating in NaNoWriMo.


Yes, it’s that time of year again, that magical month of crazy and unexpected happenings. Which reminds me of the day I actually found the end of a rainbow (with no pot of gold—of course.) But let’s not talk about that.

I’m sure most of you have seen The Avengers. If you haven’t, now’s the time. Because today, the Avengers are going to give us a pep talk about writing…  Or something like that.


1)      The world is in peril. (But isn’t it for every wrimo in the nanoverse?)

2)      The stakes are high. (Um…because…50K, and then you have overachievers like me who are then overshadowed by the over-overachievers who make 100K on the second day. Shame on you, whoever you are.)

3)      Failure means consequences. (No success—no book. Those are pretty steep consequences if you ask me.)

4)      A superhero (because let’s face it, that’s what we wrimos are) must join with his friends (writing buddies anyone?) to save the world from destruction. (Here is where I refer back to my original point.)

See, it’s all there. You wrimos have embarked on your dangerous battle against Loki (your inner editor) to save the world from the…okay, so it begins to break down here. But hopefully you get my point.

Not only does The Avengers parallel your journey this month, it also applies to your novel and its plot. No doubt, your characters are striving against seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The stakes are high, with tangible consequences. (And I’m generalizing here, because literary novels are different, and also much harder to write in a shorter period of time.) At some point, your character will go through “the long dark night of the soul”, in which he feels he will surely fail. (Spoiler alert:  I’m thinking of Agent Colson’s death and the following events.) You yourself may feel that way somewhere between 25K to 35K (or try anywhere in your novel, when you’re me and you realize that you’re not freaking out and you probably should be freaking out because THAT’S TRADITION, ISN’T IT?)

Though I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, since we all have different writing habits, I personally am working on two books at once. Tada! I have now revealed the true depths of my insanity. But here’s what I have found. At first I was seriously concerned that I was off my rocker, that writing two novels at once was akin to eating two pies at once—delicious but deadly. However, come Day Five at 50K plus, I know something I didn’t on Day One. By adding another story, I have more than doubled my efficiency, for this reason. Last year, I spent ages staring agonizingly at the screen, wondering why the muse was taking so long on her coffee break. I mean, seriously, ten minutes is plenty. I had one story on which I focused all my energy (which wasn’t a bad thing—I got it done), but I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happened next, getting mired down by doubt and dry-brain-syndrome. (It’s totally a thing. You’d know that if you ever did NaNoWriMo. Am I right?)

This year, though, when I get stuck on one book and need to take a step back, I don’t have to walk away from doing what I love. I can simply switch to my other story, tap away at that until my brain cramps, and then switcheroo again.

Before I leave, because yes, I am in a hurry to get back to my NaNo baby (sorry guys), I would like to make a tie-in. When The Avengers came out, the movie makers had built up to it with Captain America and Thor and Iron Man and The Hulk. While one movie comes out, another is in the works. There’s some overlap. Here’s the part of the show, I know, where you’re expecting me to make some deep comparison between this and my dual-NaNoing strategy with a swift last-minute tie-in to something coffee-related. But all I have is this—the different movies kept us interested, kept us waiting for the next one. That’s what happens with my two books. They feed off each other, like little baby piranhas (or not really). They are their own entities, of course, with different characters and different plots, but they keep me intrigued—they keep me moving. So happy NaNoing you wrimo Avengers. And knock that word count dead.


  1. Cool post! And two novels at once, wow, that's a lot. Glad it's working out for you!

    Alexa S. Winters

  2. Thanks! I enjoy it because if one gets boring I can always switch to the other. Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

  3. Sweet! I'd love to know when you finish. :)

    1. Haha, sure! We're pretty much on schedule at the moment, so probably towards the end of November.