This will be my third nano, but for those who are just discovering the NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) it is a writing challenge that takes place every November, where you are required to write a minimum of 1,667 words a day. This results in a total of 50,010 – enough for a rough/first draft of a novel. 

Completing this number of words uses the technique of fast drafting. Now, while I’m not an aficionado of the horror genre, (okay, I’m a scaredy-cat) I am a fan of Stephen King’s On Writing, which is part autobiography and part writing advice. In his book King says: ‘Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind ... worst of all the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade ... I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.’

Please, don’t misunderstand me as I’m not equating my nano effort with Stephen King’s writing. Nonetheless, this does sound very similar to the style which nano participants adopt to complete the challenge. 

Fast drafting (or sprint writing, as I’ve heard it called) is exactly what it says ... getting your story down as fast as possible. Some people plan before writing, others do it as they go. Some can’t help but edit a bit as they write, others don’t.  

For myself, I write a chapter outline containing a brief description of the major scenes. As long as I can witness those scenes in my mind, all I have to do is write, to the best of my ability, what is living in my imagination. One consistent piece of advice - which ties in with King’s method - is don’t get knotted up about what you write in your explosion of creativity. 

There are criticisms too, the main one being that a draft done in this manner will be an editing nightmare. Another I’ve read is that your time would be better spent reading than writing rubbish. The latter was clearly written by someone (a long suffering editor?) whose desk was swamped with a tsunami of post nano novels. 

Yet it’s because we read wonderful books, which fill our heads with stories, sparking the desire to write our own, that we participate. And, I agree, there are standards of what is acceptable in a novel, but there is no one way to achieve that goal.

Fast drafting - whether for the nano or not - has its pressures. Staying focussed and keeping up the pace can be intense, but it can also be an invigorating, exhilarating experience.

Writing Update 

The publication date for Tatya’s Return approaches, and I’m experiencing high levels of nervous anticipation as I gallop towards the finishing line. I’ll complete the final edits today, then a list of points to check, the cover to finalize, the formatting and uploading. This time I’m planning to use Smashwords and distribute to the other eplatforms as well as Amazon. The actual date will depend on the length of time between uploading and appearing on the various websites, but barring any unforeseen events, it will be before the end of October (she says with her fingers, and toes, crossed – after all Halloween approaches).

So this week will be a busy one, and as the anticipation builds, so does the sense of satisfaction. I feel unbelievably lucky to be on this journey. 

Today’s Haiku
is skin on skin love –
at that place where mine and yours touch
do we become one  

Useful Links:
This is a great article for anyone considering self-publishing:
And for anyone who wants to check out the NaNoWriMo: 

I’d love it if you checked out my debut novel, One Summer in Montmartre, or popped over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories ... just click on the links to the right.

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku 

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.


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