NaNoWriMo 2015: Why Not?

Natalee Caple talked me into joining her for NaNoWriMo 2015. I agreed for the following reasons:

  • I happen to have a new idea that is very condensed and could, theoretically, be drafted quickly. The action takes place over 24 hours and the plot features only 5 characters in less than 10 locations.
  • I have been wanting to try to draft something quickly, specifically a horror novel, the way that Tony Burgess (my horror hero) does.
  • I have had students that completed the challenge, and students often ask me about the challenge, and so it seems worth a try if only to be able to relate to or advise students about the challenge.
  • I’m trying to improve my efficiency as a writer, and one of my goals is to focus on a single project rather than jumping between projects, like Joe Hill said I should. So this will necessitate a full shift into that mindset and force me to develop and refine effective working practices.
  • I want to draft a book-length work from first word to last word in Scrivener. I have been using the program for short works and for imported longer works (that I began outside of Scrivener and am going to complete inside of Scrivener). I want to really know how it feels to start and end in Scrivener.
  • Natalee will make fun of me otherwise, and lord it over me if she does it and I don’t.
  • Chadwick Ginther did it twice and he seems to have survived mostly intact.
  • I want to really test my (relatively new) outlining process in a situation of extreme duress, to see how much of a difference it makes to have a decent/developed outline before beginning a project.
  • Back in the day, Ryan Fitzpatrick and I did the 3-Day Novel challenge. We co-wrote 27,000 words in 3 days, so 50,000 words in 30 days seems manageable.

I will put the site on hold over November while I work on my NaNoWriMo novel, which is called LEE. Can’t tell you more. Secret stuff!! But here's a word counter widget so you can see my overall progress:

Okay, okay — I will tell you more, but only if you join my e-mail list. I won’t update the site over November, but I will be checking in with and reporting to my email list. Cuz they are cooler than you! Unless you join, in which case you will be instantly cooler than you used to be.

Sign up to keep abreast of how LEE is going, and to learn the secrets of life and death and time!

Later, gators!!!

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Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at

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I want to send you my best new work.

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