The Study

50K the Dapper Way

Saturday marks the beginning of November, you guys, and we all know what that means. The continued marketing of pumpkin-flavored everything! (Seriously. Trader Joe’s is touting more than 60 pumpkin products this season. What hath you wrought, Fall?)

But, more importantly, it means the beginning of National Novel Writing Month! For the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a program conceived of and hosted by The Office of Letters and Light, a wonderful non-profit that promotes the art of writing. Or, as they put it:

The Office of Letters and Light organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

They're our kind of people.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo, which takes place every November, is to write a novel in 30 days. The good folks at NaNo set the bar at 50,000 words by the end of the month (which is really rather kind of them. 50,000 words do not always a novel make). It boils down to about 1,667 words per day. It's a smash-bash blitzkrieg of novelling. It makes for sleepless nights and harrowing days. It makes for complete disasters of first drafts. But it also makes for finished novels.

For many people, NaNoWriMo is the frantic push they need to actually sit down and write, and it regularly results in some really fantastic published novels. We at Dapper can't recommend NaNo enough. In fact, we recommend it so hard that we're going to throw our hats in the novelling ring this year.

Clayton Smith - The Grizzled Old Perennial

My NaNoWriMo History

I love NaNoWriMo. It's responsible for every single novel I have under my belt at this point (which, admittedly, is just two. Still. Without NaNo, I'd probably have zero).

This year marks my fifth time participating. My first year, I lost like hell. I mean, I lost hard. I think I hit maybemaybe25,000 words. But the second year, I wrote the first 80,000 words of a novel called Apocalypticon, which I ended up finishing and publishing a couple years later. My third year, I wrote the first 50,000 words of a novel called IF, which is going to be published in the spring of 2015. My fourth year, I wrote another 50,000 words of IF. (IF is, apparently, quite long.) 

My 2014 Novel - The Wizard Who Swallowed the Sun

This year, I'm using NaNo to launch a huge new project: a three-part modern-Gothic Edward Gorey/Tim Burton-style fairy tale adventure series with a standalone short story companion book. It's a four-book monstrosity of a goal, and this November, I'll be working on The Wizard Who Swallowed the Sun, which is Book 1 of the three-part series.

The Synopsis

Once upon a time, in the land far beyond, there was a village where it was always nighttime, even at the height of day. Welcome to Brightsbane, a fairy tale land of darkness where monsters lurk, ghosts haunt, bones rattle, and the townsfolk are afraid of the light.

Everyone knows that it's always nighttime because long, long ago, the town's evil wizard swallowed the sun. But when the wizard steals The Boneyard Compendium, a powerful book of spells, the townspeople shudder to think what he's got up his sleeve next. A young girl named Mabel is tapped to track down the wizard and retrieve the book before he can do any damage. But there's truth lurking inside the pages of the Compendium, and Brightsbane may not be all it seems.

The Wizard Who Swallowed the Sun is the first book in a trilogy that explores a dark, whimsical land of fairy tale magic and nighttime creatures that will take young Mabel to the edge of the world and back in search for the missing light.

Be Clayton's Friend

Oh, yes, please do! My username on is Clayskool. Find me and add me as a friend, and I'll add you back, and let's keep each other motivated! Let's just do it, okay?!

Steven Luna - The n00b




I have none. The first time I recall hearing about NaNoWriMo, I had already finished my very first novel manuscript and had nagging ambitions of writing something new. But I had no plans, no plot, and no pretensions of believing I could ever finish another novel. And it was already November, so...

I've always loved the idea of dedicating a solid month to word craft frenzy, just Muppet-arming as much story as I could possibly muster, even if some of the letters are upside-down and many of the words won't be found in an English dictionary. By way of of a Non-NaNo, in 2013 I did write a 70,000-word novel in three and a half weeks. But that was in April, so.... (As you can tell by now, I have a fair amount of difficulty with time and such.) 

MY 2014 NOVEL - keepers

At the suggestion of the guy Ralph Macchio-ing on the fence post at the top of this page, I've opted to extend a short story I wrote a few years back into a full-length novel. It's called Keepers, and it centers on a pair of sisters who tend a cemetery in the delightfully Gothic village of Broodhaven. It's a single-volume story, though I've recently come to imagine a few other tales that could make their home in the same dark fairy tale universe.  

THe Synopsis

The village of Broodhaven has always had a little trouble keeping their dead underground…luckily for everyone, sisters Agnes and Sarah Crowspindle are descendants of the Keepers, a bloodline of cemetery-tenders with the ability to summon the dead out of their graves—and to put them back in, too. But something has gone seriously and suddenly awry, and the dead are emerging with no warning, no explanation, and no influence from Agnes or Sarah, which can only mean one thing: their long-dead sister Rebecca is playing havoc with the rules.  



I LOVE friends - and the writey kind are so fantastic, especially when we can weigh in on progress and compare NaNotes! I'm kicking around under the moniker lunatix1005. Go find me and friend me, because thanks to the Internet and the 21st century, that noun is now a verb. And it's never going back.



Clayton Smith2 Comments