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In November 2012 I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month put on by NaNoWriMo .

It was thrilling to write 50,000 words in 30 days with thousands of other writers. The forums provided a feeling of being a part of a writing community that was very motivational. Watching the word count progress chart fill was also motivational. I won’t lie. Some days it was difficult to write 1667 words as a daily goal. But other days, especially weekends when I had more me time, the words flowed and I would surpass my daily goal. I highly recommend the experience if you’ve ever wondered if you could write a full novel. You’ll find out pretty quickly if your story can last through so many words. I loved it. I completed a first draft of a Young Adult Science Fiction novel, with working title of Left Behind (This working title will need to change as there is already a series with that name)

Nanowrimo also offers online camps in April and July (Camp Nanowrimo). In these camps, you’re placed in a cabin with your own chat panel. You can set your own goals starting at 10,000 words. Some people use the time to revise, research, or plan a next novel.

I participated in both of these. In April I tried editing my November novel. It was much harder than I expected and I discovered that I needed to educate myself on character development, style, voice, pacing, and descriptions. Happily, I found that I had a good grasp of plot, pacing, and scenes. In July I wrote a second story that had been filling my head for a while. I now have two first drafts to play with and learn from: Left Behind, and Dragonstones. Finished first draft of Dragonstones. I will have to change the working title name as there are already many Dragon stones out there already.

As a winner, you receive many codes for discounts at websites that aid in the writing process. I received a discount on Scrivener, which I plan to use to organize my first drafts into chapters and scenes and fill in the missing pieces to make the story flow.