Preptober 2022

National Novel Writng Month is almost upon us, which means that we are currently in Preptober. The month of October gives seasoned and aspiring novelists alike 31 days to prep their novel for the annual challenge to write a novel in 30 days in the upcoming month. It’s commonly held that writers are either plotters, or pantsers.

Plotters-Writers who meticulously plan out the elements and trajectory of their story, and make detailed notes before writing which serve as a roadmap while they draft.

Pantsers-Writers who ‘fly by the seat of their pants’, i.e writing spontaneously and making changes as they go.

How Camp NaNoWriMo Went For Me This July

I am in the latter camp, a pantser. Its hard for me to make notes and stick to them because as I write my first draft I am constantly making changes to the plot. Characters who had long been a  planned part of the narrative may end up playing a smaller role than planned on the page, and new characters will introduce themselves. My web serial, The Alchemist’s Daughter began in earnest during this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo event in July. It is similar to Preptober, but more formal: you declare your chosen project as with National Novel Writing Month proper, but you’re free to outline or revise a novel as well as draft a  manuscript during that time. I did not complete the event in the traditional sense of success, writing 1663 words per day every day and coming out with a finished draft in three days. But, I think success is relative to what you have been trying to achieve. I completed three chapters, but they were the stubborn beginning to my novel that I had been struggling to write for a year and a half.

How The Alchemist’s Daughter Began

I began writing fanfiction during the earliest days of state mandated quarantine during the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic. My entire family became ill with what was most likely COVID19. I didn’t get sick, so a lot of my time was spent caring for them. It was frightening, but I had to take heart and forge through, no matter how unsettling the world’s events I saw on the news were, no matter how uncertain my own life had become. I had been hired for a sales job, but couldn’t report to the first day of work because it was also the first day of the state mandated lockdown. I couldn’t report to an interview for a waitressing job at a chain family restaurant, either. Even though I was, at that time, a withdrawn and solitary person, I knew my family needed me and I did my best to rise to the challenge and care for their needs.

In my spare time, as a form of comfort, I began watching the Harry Potter movies, reading the Harry Potter books,  and reading the novels of Diana Wynne Jones and Jane Austen, and watching period dramas. I was inspired to write by all of these sources, combining the magic of wizards and the finery and refinement of the Regency period of British history. Luckily, I had a game that my sister and I made up as kids to reference. The fantastical kingdom that I write about in The Alchemist’s Daughter was a world that my sister and I made up, drawing maps of it with colored pencils in our childhood sketchbooks, making up complex terrain, castles, magic schools, noble and royal families of faeries and wizards. Returning to that world gave me strength and hope when I needed it most.

Surviving and Thriving

I am happy and grateful to say that all my family survived those dark early days of the pandemic, and their illnesses. I found a job, we moved to a new home in a new town, and sadly I went through a crushing heartbreak. Once again, finding my voice as a writer helped me to persevere and heal. I left behind a ‘side hustle’ as a freelance journalist to focus on this blog, and my web serial that I eventually plan to independently publish. This is my dream, and living it gives me life- a new life, after I had to let go of many hopes and expectations. 

Trying Camp NaNoWriMo was a big motivator. It shifted my focus from the work I was doing as a freelance writer, and back to what was really in my heart, the sort of stories I have always loved to read and tell. 

Those three chapters were the fruit of imagination, mercy, grace, hope, healing, hard work, and hard decisions. Those three chapters were the beginning of this new phase of my life, one that I chose because it seemed like the healthiest and most authentic way of life for me. 

Good Luck on Your Preptober and NaNoWriMo Journey!

This Preptober, I wish all the participating writers out there luck on their journey! The ‘write life’ is an enriching one! To anyone on the fence about participating in NaNoWriMo, I would highly recommend attempting it, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t write every day, or if you don’t finish your draft. I didn’t accomplish either of these feats, but I still accomplished a lot. Just attempting the challenge still helped me commit to my dreams. Blessings to  all of your dreams, dear readers! 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

My web serial, The Alchemist’s Daughter, is available to read online on Wattpad here, and Inkitt here

2 responses to “Preptober 2022”

  1. I don’t typically participate in NaNo, but here’s to a good month of writing to you too, fellow pantser!


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