Are you ready for some May Mid-grade Madness?

Can you believe it’s almost time for another round of May Mid-Grade Madness? For those who are unfamiliar, MMM is a yearly challenge where brave souls dare to write a mid-grade novel rough draft in the span of four … yes, four days! We started MMM several years ago, after cooking up the crazy idea over coffee:

Are you interested? Awesome! It truly is a fun challenge and the sense of accomplishment I had received after completing my 20k in 2012 was amazing. Simply amazing. So here’s the full scoop from Kara and be sure to join our Facebook Group as well!

I have a confession to make. I hate first drafts.

Every sentence feels like it’s sending me off in the wrong direction. Worse, every sentence feels like a confirmation that I’m not a novelist and I never will be. I question every plot turn and piece of dialog. And all it takes is one moment of indecision and I start avoiding my book for weeks, waiting to come up with the perfect solution to my problem. What can I say? My inner critic has bossy mean girl tendencies.

Once it’s time to edit, I’m in my happy place. I love looking at a piece of writing, finding a better structure, livening up a scene, and taking all that telling and changing it to showing. It’s just six months or a year of spinning out my first version of the story that gives me fits.

Speed writing challenges were made for people like me. The idea of NaNoWriMo, in which writers churn out a novel during the month of November, or our own May Midgrade Madness, in which we distill the same challenge into a weekend with a drastically lowered word count, is to get your whole story on paper as quickly as possible, so that there’s no time for your inner critic to strip you of your momentum.

May is nearly here, and we will once again be offering our support to writers who want to set aside a long weekend to speedwrite their first draft. Begun in 2012 by Laura Bowers and Susan Mannix, May Mid-grade Madness challenges participants to pick any four days in May, and use them to write a full draft (or 20,000 words of one) in that time.

Those are pretty much the only rules. Planning, character sketching, etc. are allowed (indeed, encouraged) in the days and weeks leading up to the writing marathon. Bragging on Facebook and twitter (#MGMad) are encouraged after you’ve finished! And if you brag with a screencap of your word count, you’ll be in the running for a prize or two.

In the two years I’ve managed the MMM Facebook page, only four people have managed to complete 20,000 words in their allotted time, but many more have given their projects much needed kick-starts. And just dedicating four consecutive days to your writing can really pay off.

Over the next few weeks, the May Mid-grade Madness Facebook page will be sharing resources for those brave souls willing to give a weekend rough draft a try. It’s easy to join us: just set aside any four days in May and commit to writing 5000 words a day. Then join our Facebook page and tell us about your plans.

~~~~

Thanks, Kara! So what about you, are you tempted to tackle this crazy challenge? I must admit. I had absolutely zero interest because it doesn’t fit in with my short or long term goals this quarter plus I have a zillion other things going on.

Still.

That feeling I got back in 2012 when I finished my 20,000 with only minutes to spare …

It was a great feeling.

So whatever. I’m in. I don’t know whether I’ll be a finisher or someone who gets a huge kick-start, but you never know until you try!

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About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, and blogger at As The Eraser Burns, Joyful Miles, and Write, Run, Rejoice. In the past, she's been a waitress, telemarketer, cook, real estate agent, and during her college days, a costumed character at holiday parades. (Memories of being terrorized as a candy cane still haunt her at night.) At the age of thirty, she pursued her dream of being a writer. Her first novel, Beauty Shop for Rent, a “Steel Magnolias for teens,” was inspired by a rusted sign by a charming old house, and now, she can honestly say that writing is a thousand times more rewarding than being a candy cane!
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