Caren Hahn

NaNoWriMo 2019 recap

Thanks to all those who joined me in November for this mad adventure of writing a rough draft of a novel in less than 30 days! I can’t tell you how much it helped to have little words of encouragement from those of you who were following along. Even though it was rough, even though there were typos and inconsistencies and gaps that I’ll have to fix later, just knowing that there were people who were looking forward to the next installment helped me have the courage to share it every day.

It certainly made it a different experience from the other times I’ve done NaNoWriMo. I found that it was much harder to kill my internal editor when she kept hanging around saying, “You can’t go to bed until you finish this scene. You just can’t leave people hanging!” My internal editor cost me a lot of sleep last month.

Overall, the biggest thing I gained from this experience was facing my fear of sharing my writing with the world. When someone greets me with, “Hey, I’ve been reading your story!” I can actually look them in the eye and respond like a human being instead of crawling under a rock. And that’s not something I could say a month ago.

Last year for Christmas, a good friend gave me a beautiful hand-lettered print that says, “Let’s Be Brave Together”. I’ve had it sitting nearby as I wrote, serving as a reminder that this crazy experiment of mine — publicly sharing my developing project every day during NaNoWriMo — was an act of great courage. More than anything, that’s what I've gained, and I'm so grateful to those of you who helped me along the way!

So, what’s next? I’m working to get What Comes After available to share. This is my NaNo project from 2017 and has gone through multiple drafts, so it’ll be a lot more polished than what you got from me in November! It’s a paranormal mystery/thriller told from the perspective of a woman in the afterlife, and you’ll probably enjoy it if you liked Smoke Over Owl Creek.

2018’s NaNo project is still in slow second draft stage. It’s a YA retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Wild Swans taking place in Colonial Virginia on the eve of the American Revolution. There are a lot of things I’m excited about with this project, but historical fiction is uniquely labor intensive because of the amount of research involved. So it's taking longer than usual and I can't guess when it will be ready to share.

I do have a finished trilogy that I’m hoping to share with you in coming months. It’s an adult fantasy political thriller (think Game of Thrones but without all the sex and violence and with characters you can actually respect and relate to). Once I have a better sense of when it will be available, I'll be sharing more about it here and on social media.

And of course, I’m not finished with Smoke Over Owl Creek! When things have settled after the new year, I’ll start working on the next draft. After being so immersed in it, it's been strange to step away. The first few days after I finished, I felt like my mind was wandering around listlessly, totally lost without another scene to plan. So I look forward to jumping back into it in January!

In the meantime, if you’ve liked what you’ve read, feel free to share it with others. My social media footprint is intentionally small, so I invite you to share with others who have similar tastes in fiction. The experimental rough draft of Smoke Over Owl Creek will be available through the end of the year.

And again, thanks for taking the time to read and come back for more!

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