In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to try a different kind of Mo of my own creation: National Agent-Finding Month.

I wrote the first draft of my novel, THE CAPITAL ZOO, as part of NaNoWriMo in 2009. Writing an entire novel in a month is a little crazy, and you sacrifice a bunch of things in your writing — like, say, a coherent plot, remotely consistent characters, any sense of well-considered voice or style, etc. etc. — to churn out 50,000 words in 30 days.

I loved it.

It erased all the self-imposed restrictions in my head, the ones that demand lots of calm writing time and a well-formed idea and a bit of balance in one’s life. Plus, 10 years as a professional writer, working as a journalist and then a staff writer for a library (at a university that rhymes with Shmornell), makes that inner editor and critic in your head pretty loud. It can be hard to just spill words onto a page without wanting to tweak them and restructure them and fix fix fix.

But NaNoWriMo’s time restraint, the emphasis of quantity over quality, changes that, and it gives you a tremendous amount of raw material to work with over the next (in my case) two years.

Not much remains of that first draft, but I think and hope that a pretty decent book has grown up from the initial seed. And I’m going to use the energy that month generated for me in 2009 to try to get it published. It’s weird, but I have this sense of wanting to do right by that initial effort — and I really want to find an agent who believes in it too.

Over the course of November, I’m going to post here every day about THE CAPITAL ZOO… explanations, stories, profiles of the different animals it features, random musings on the process, stuff and things. If you have any great ideas about something you’d like to see here, please leave them in the comments, and thanks in advance for coming along on this ride with me.

Happy NaAgFiMo!

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