NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Novel Challenge

fancy harlequin romance teaspoons
These are my fancy romance novel teaspoons. I got four free novels with each spoon!

Can it be mid-October already? NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am just now getting around to thinking about it. As usual, my original plan for this year was to just skip it. But as November draws near, I find myself once again itching to see if I can knock out a novel in thirty days.

Last year, I did not. While I did manage to conquer the quest for 50,000 words, my NaNoWriMo project was not, in any way, a novel. Last year, I proved to myself that I am capable of writing 50,000 words in one month. This year, I think it’s time to step it up and write 50,000 words of an actual novel.

Like many writers, I know that anything written so quickly is likely to be a big pile of steaming manure. And like many writers, the idea of writing crap is sometimes all it takes to invite writer’s block to sit down at the table and discuss the merits of powdered versus gel dishwasher detergent and how to get rid of those infernal spots on your glassware. I swear, with all the trouble I go to rewashing dishes that the dishwasher supposedly already cleaned, sometimes I think I may as well just wash the dishes by hand to begin with and be done with… oh wait. There it went.

And on that note, I am pleased to announce this year’s Write on the World NaNoWriMo writing challenge, which is designed to help you (and me) get over the fear of writing for the pig pen. This November, I am inviting you to join me in the 2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge.

Who doesn’t love a vapid trashy romance novel once in a while? I personally have a stash that has been floating around my various homes for the past fifteen years. Over a decade ago, I subscribed to one of those Harlequin-type reader services during a time when they were offering these adorable little ceramic teaspoons free with each monthly book shipment. I paid for that subscription until I had collected the entire set! And now, I have this stash of unread books (and unused adorable teaspoons) that I dip into about once or twice a year whenever I find myself needing to escape from the thinking world.

No one reads a trashy romance novel expecting it to be well-written, at least not in the academic sense. My hypothesis – and the basis of this writing challenge – is that when you challenge yourself to write something that is meant to be “bad,” this might free up enough mental space for you to just get to the writing without being held back by any feelings of inadequacy or fear that the words you are putting on paper will not be worth reading.

So, let’s do this together. I have created an assignment list for us and will post assignments for this challenge throughout the month of November for anyone who cares to join me. However, before we get to the actual challenge, it might be helpful to do a little preplanning to get us started. With that said, our first pre-writing assignment for the 2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge will be a simple one. Be sure to reward yourself once you have completed it.

Name your hero and heroine

Romance novel hero names tend to run the gamut from solid names like Rock and Blaze to downright plain names like Jake and Jack. Heroine names may be dark, flowery, romantic (duh?) names like Raven or Mirabelle, or plain-Jane like Maggie. For today’s pre-writing assignment, spend five to ten minutes jotting down the most audacious couple name combinations you can think of. If you come up with any particularly good ones that you do not plan to use, feel free to share them in the comments below. But be sure to keep the names you are using to yourself until your novel is complete.

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