NaNoWriMo 2019

2019 will mark my 8th year participating in NaNoWriMo, and hopefully, my fifth win and seventh completed book draft. If you're new, NaNoWriMo is a yearly event that happens in November where one tries to write a 50,000 word book from scratch (outlining/prepping excluded, that's fine to do prior). It stands for National Novel Writing Month.

My first attempt was in 2011 and I failed after 6000 words but my second attempt in 2012 resulted in a draft that I'm almost done editing and about to self-publish.


First of all, NaNo is a fascinating journey. Writing a book is such an overwhelming task -- it feels impossible at first, and even more so to do it in a month. Accomplishing it feels like a true victory over the task, despite the fact that 50,000 words don't really make a long book. For instance, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is 77K words and that book feels rather short. Hunger Games is around 100K -- so double the length of a NaNoWriMo.

The joy though is truly in getting that idea down and crafting that long story. I definitely told stories that I've been wanting to tell for years by participating in NaNoWriMo. For the longest time, I wanted to write a book about a fictional humanoid species and their history evolving from a present-like point into the far distant future. In 2013, I got to do that. The book is called Rise of Toria and I was lucky enough to self-publish it soon after finishing the first draft.

What's in the store for this year

For years, I've been working on a long book series and I'm finally coming to an end. I kind of want to wrap it up and leave the story behind, focus on something new. It's a story series I came up with in '05 or even earlier and that's when I started writing the first book. Here's what I've got so far (spoilers included):

  1. Aetheran Child - the intro book where Lexan (our protagonist) is taken from Earth to study his special gifts at a school halfway across the galaxy. War breaks out and he leaves the school to fight
  2. Rise of Toria - the aforementioned Rise of Toria is a spin off that gives us important context for book 2 and 3 about the underlying reasons for the intergalactic warfare.
  3. Aetheran Origins or Aetheran Destiny (working title) - Lexan becomes a deserter and follows clues to uncover the mystery of the sudden and brutal war that follows the exact same patterns of another war 4,000 years earlier.
  4. Aetheran Earth or Aetheran Rebirth (working title) - This will be my NaNo 2019. It'll follow Lexan and his crew to the final encounter with the Toria (whose background we learn about in Rise of Toria!)

So Aetheran Earth is supposed to wrap things up all nice and neat while keeping an open end for me to revisit if I ever choose to. I've written a dozen short stories in-universe, and my first ever (failed) NaNo was another spin off that I probably won't ever finish. I've drawn the characters from these books, and even learned 3D modeling so I could visualize how certain architecture would look like from the books.

I'll be happy to give the characters an ending but I'm sure I'll be sad to leave them as well. The hardest part will be actually writing it. I wrote an outline based on the 3-act story structure (mentioned in a previous article) in hopes that it will help me so let's see how that goes.

NaNoWriMo Retrospectives

Let's look back at the books and NaNoWriMos I've participated in so far: