Newtown writer Wally Wood will be at C.H. Booth Library on Wednesday, October 30, at 7 pm, for a talk and book signing of his most recent novel, The Girl In The Photo. This is the second work of fiction for Mr Wood, who previously published Getting Oriented on Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon, in 2011. More importantly than promoting his novel, though, said Mr Wood, he will be talking about “How NaNoWriMo jump started my novel.”
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started in 1998, Mr Wood said, and is a challenge to writers to write 50,000 words of fiction during the month of November.
“That’s 1,667 words a day,” pointed out Mr Wood.
Even though Mr Wood is the author of 19 general interest business books, a business writer and journalist, has served as a trade magazine editor for 25 years, and teaches creative writing to young people at the town library, continuing his pursuit of fiction writing needed the nudge NaNoWriMo provided, he said.
The NaNoWriMo website (www.NaNoWriMo.org) features forums, chat rooms, and other forms of encouragement to those taking on the challenge, as well as research tools. There is no cost to take part, but donations are accepted to support the writing programs funded by the organization’s non-profit “Office of Letters and Light.”
There are no prizes, nor is any writing critiqued.
“It’s you and your conscience,” Mr Wood said. “I’m the kind of writer who likes to go back and clean up as I go along, a very slow process. NaNoWriMo makes you just put stuff down. NaNo doesn’t care if those words are good, or not. You post the number of words each day to track your progress,” said Mr Wood.
Participants submit their writing for verification toward the end of November, receive a printable certificate, and are included on a list of winners — and every verified submission is a winner.
Mr Wood first heard of NaNoWriMo through the Newtown writer’s group Working Writers of Connecticut, to which he belongs.
“Other members of the group had done it, so on November 1, 2011, I started writing,” he recalled. By November 30, he had written 55,000 words and was well on his way to crafting the 351-page The Girl In The Photo.
“I had a situation in mind when I started,” Mr Wood said, but the NaNoWriMo challenge pushed him to put the idea down on paper.
The Girl In The Photo is a story of a middle-aged brother and sister who return to their deceased father’s home to clean it out. In an envelope in the late surgeon’s study they come across a photograph of a young Japanese woman, and a letter.
“The letter says I love you, I miss you, I’m going to have a baby,” Mr Wood disclosed, a shocking revelation to the siblings, who cannot imagine their stolid father as a young doctor involved in a relationship on which he apparently turned his back. The discovery of what appears to be a memoir, found in a document on their father’s computer, only adds more mystery to the revelation.
The Girl In The Photo is told from three points of view: the sister, the brother, and a first person account in the words of the doctor’s memoir.
Once the book was underway, it took Mr Wood until the end of January 2012 to finish the first draft. Editing took him another year and a half, and on August 15 of this year, the book became available to the public.
“People say they would like to write a book, but don’t make the time. The NaNoWriMo challenge forces you to put something down, every day. That’s the real benefit,” said Mr Wood. “NaNoWriMo forces you to overcome that editor in your head and get it down.”
Mr Wood is pleased to have his second fictional novel in print, but is equally excited to share his knowledge of the world of self-publishing. On October 30, he will discuss the process of writing, publishing, and promoting.
His talk will be geared toward “anybody who’s thinking about any kind of book,” he said. “There is so much going on in terms of publishing. It’s easy to get published, but there are things to do and things not to do.”