Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Novel in a Month


Strategy number two for getting into a better writing habit - join this year's NaNoWriMo.  If you are a writer anywhere online these days, you've probably heard of it.  NaNoWriMo is a program run by a non-profit organization that promotes National Novel Writing Month by encouraging authors to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  Each year, tens of thousands of aspiring and published writers converge on the NaNoWriMo site to sign up, get support, track their word count, and eventually bask in triumph on November 30th (or vow to try again next year.)

I first heard about NaNoWriMo from a family member who participated and finished a novel in a previous year, with much gnashing of teeth.  This person found attaining the standard 1667 words a day to be a pain, since I think she was actually trying to write something good.  Now, I usually have no trouble producing copious amounts of text, but it tends to possess little or no cohesion on the first go round.  The whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write without editing.  To just write.  No rereading and chopping out of bad parts.  And ideally, no starting over.  Just get the idea out into the world, and edit the freaking thing in December.  So anyway, she said, somewhat wryly, that I could probably handle it.  This already being my style.

And so for the first time, I'm doing NaNoWriMo.  I started a few days late, so had to do some catch up.  But as suspected, keeping up with the word count is no problem at all.  As usual, I give my characters a world and a scaffold of a plot and they immediately run off and start doing their own thing.  I just have to write down what they say and do.  It's one of the major reasons I write, because of how much I love to watch and record their lives (or in the case of this novel, their afterlives).  Now, readability, or marketability, of said writing remains unknown.  But before I can try to see if I can really turn this into my day job, I have to have a complete product of some kind.

The problem with my current stories is that I have thousands of them, all in one science fiction/fantasy universe, and they are all interconnected.  So writing any piece of it can alter the other pieces.  Keeping the continuity sharp has been challenging.  To start me on my way to "I do this for at least part of my living" I need something that is a package in and of itself.  One project, one book, no trilogies or more.  Something not affiliated with my usual stories.  I don't tend to write like that, since my universe is where my heart is.  But I do have other ideas that float in and out, and so I picked one for NaNo and ran with it.

So if you are interested, you can check me out on the NaNoWriMo site, along with thousands of other writers all exciting just to be writing.  And what else is there, really?


Image Credit:  NaNoWriMo

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