Friday, November 9, 2012

Nano Time Travel

So it has been two years since I completed my first Nano novel and it has gone on to become my best seller and put me on the map as an Indie Author. That's right.. UnEnchanted was my Nano of 2010. I was looking through my blog and decided that I would take you through a few Nano posts and inspirations that I did two years ago to encourage you for the future. So are we ready for a Time Traveling Nano adventure back to 2010? I can't guarantee, you'll learn a whole lot, but it will be fun!





Nov 1st, 2010- I don't have a clue what to write for Nano! Everyone else has started and I'm floundering. I almost decide to give up and just start writing something, but I can't. I have to feel inspired to write! I tell myself if I can't write anything that I really want to write, then I won't force myself to do Nano.

Nov 6th, 2010- Browsing through Flickr and deviantart still looking for inspiration for a new project. Happened across this picture. Ooh, me likey! So I bookmarked it and continued looking for something else.

Nov 7th, 2010- Doing a plot exercise with my husband, feeling kind of bummed that I'm late for Nano and I still didn't have a solid idea of a new book. I remembered the picture from the day before and wrote out a quick synopsis of the book on a green 3x5 card. It was coming together. I was going to do a red riding hood story!

Nov 9th, 2010- I announce my new idea on my blog. (uh oh, now i'm committed and have to write it)

Nov 10th-12th, 2010-  Going insane trying to put together a plot outline for my novel.

Nov 13th 2010- I actually pen the first words into my nano novel.."Today, I saved Brody Carmichael's life." Phew okay the first sentence was what!?! I started almost 2 weeks late!!! I'm officially 21, 653 words behind if you count my first sentence.

Nov 19th, 2010- Feeling like I may not accomplish my goal. Every waking moment I was bombarded with 2 year olds or my husband asking, at the time really dumb questions. Which in fact they weren't but they seemed that way. (See below cartoon)

Nov 25th, 2010- Thanksgiving! I have become extremely antisocial. Everyone in my family knows of my crazy goal to finish this novel. So I say hello to the family, pass off my twins to the happy to help grandparents. Stuff my face with turkey and all the fix-ins and retreat to the guest room to type! Who knew holiday's would come with free babysitting! (I was extremely grateful and they knew it)

Nov 29th, 2010- I'm actually having nightmares! So I try and tell myself hey, since I started late I can finish it Dec 13th....right. I latched onto the below Nano cartoon because it was kind of how I was feeling with my novel. I had decided right then, that I was going to make all of my Unfortunate Fairy Tale series have an ending with a twist. I knew then that my readers would either hate the ending or love it. So I developed my Unfortunate Formula for writing my Fairy Tales. Because not all Fairy Tales have happily ever afters.

Nov 30th, 2010- I finished 50,000 words. I completed the Nano goal, but my novel wasn't finished yet. (The following is from my blog post about UnEnchanted after 50,000 words)

"I did complete the task of 50,024 words in a month. But again I started 13 days late, so I was cramming. I was typing on Thanksgiving, in between visiting family members and late at night every night. I was even typing almost up until the midnight cut off point. Once I reached my goal of a few words of 50,000. I saved and uploaded it and shut my computer off. I didn't touch my novel for one whole week. I still can't touch it. I look at it and my skin crawls with dread at the thought of picking it up and feeling my fingers automatically curl back with intense dislike. Don't get me wrong, the story is good and I love where i'm going with it and I'm glad that the contest push made me start it. It's my fingers....they are protesting the abuse i put them through with typing. I'm find myself typing this blog very slow as if i'm stretching my fingers before a run along the keyboard path." 

Can you tell I hated it??? But what happened next?

Dec 15th, 2010- I get permission from the photographer for rights to the above red riding hood photo. YES!!!! I have my book and I have a cover!  UnEnchanted still had edits to go through.

June 1, 2011- I begin querying UnEnchanted, to some interest but generally the same answer. Fairy tales are overdone and they aren't big.

November  2011- I didn't do Nano because I was packing and moving to Oregon.

Dec 31st, 2011- I uploaded UnEnchanted on a whim because I was tired of getting rejections and now all of these tv shows were coming out and stealing my thunder. What do you know! They like my book and It became a huge success.

So all in all, it was a bumpy ride, lots of fear, anxiety, doubt, but in the end I did it. Even if you haven't started Nano yet, you still can. It's not to late, I started almost two weeks late with my project and I did it. So go for it! Look for inspiration, make plot cards, pull character profiles etc and get a candy jar of inspiration. Notice, I forgot to put my coffee in the picture!

Here is a picture of what my desk looks like right before Nano or actually any big project. Do you recognize anything?

So as I always say. Keep on Dreaming. Keep on Writing.

Chanda Hahn is the author of the popular Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series which includes UnEnchanted and Fairest which have topped the ebook charts in 5 countries. She also has a passion for writing YA epic fantasy. She's been a children's librarian, children's pastor and costume mascot. She lives in the beautiful but rainy northwest that is Portland Oregon with her husband and twin children.


  1. Haha, I LOVE the cartoons! And I've been there. Will be querying in January. If that rejection stamp hits me in the forehead, I'll be right along with all of you amazingly talented authors. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. That sounds like an ENCHANTED writers fairy tale story. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love hearing success stories. Every time I read one it boosts my confidence and I think "maybe I can do it after all."

  4. Chanda, this is so inspiring it makes me feel like writing a novel! Or maybe you should teach a course?!

    Although I first was saddened when I read that you couldn't do Nano because you were packing for Portland, I then realized that your book was made public another way... and it certainly is "a happy ending"! For all of us! We are so glad you are in beautiful-albeit-rainy Portland with us.