Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NaNoWriMo! Yup.

Yes, I'm jumping on that crazyperson bandwagon. I, along with over a hundred thousand others, will be endeavoring to write 50,000 words. In the month of November. I'm not allowed to start until midnight on November 1st (and I'm not cheating!), and the fifty-thousand-th word must be typed and submitted no later than midnight on the 30th for me to be considered a "winner". But truly, there are no losers mong those who try. Who am I kidding though! I totally want to "win"!

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and I actually heard about it because of VeganMoFo, which is technically based on the idea. I've been faithfully writing a food post on my vegan blog every single day throughout the month of October, and hopefully that will be good training - discipline wise at least. (Sometime after the tenth day I stopped posting most of the VeganMoFo posts on my combined blog because I decided they were too boring for the general reading public.)

I've got my story sort of etched out: characters imagined, plot points scribbled down, and most importantly several pages' worth of scenes that I want to write. This, I feel, is crucial. Because the thing is that the book doesn't have to be a finished, edited product at the end of November. It doesn't have to be cohesive. It doesn't have to make sense. This is just bulk creation: as they put it, "an experiment in pure output... Editing is for December." They're right, it will make my inner editor very grumpy. But I'll get behind it, I'll plow through, if only for the sake of the imaginary shiny gold metal.

The NaNoWriMo team has proven to be a group with personality. They're a nonprofit, and they have a good website (you can see my profile!) and send out emails. The first one they sent to me when I signed up had the following tips:
1) It's okay to not know what you're doing. Really. You've read a lot of novels, so you're completely up to the challenge of writing one. If you feel more comfortable outlining your story ahead of time, do so. But it's also fine to just wing it. Write every day, and a book-worthy story will appear, even if you're not sure what that story might be right now.

2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it's hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn't. Every book you've ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you.

3) Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

3.5) There will be times you'll want to quit during November. This is okay. Everyone who wins NaNoWriMo wanted to quit at some point in November. Stick it out. See it through. Week Two can be hard. Week Three is much better. Week Four will make you want to yodel.

And we're talking the good kind of yodeling here.

See? They're sort of adoreable. The whole thing is set up to give a sense of community, down to organizing regions and having kickoff parties and write-in groups and such.

All of this means that there are things I really need to get finished before November 1: reading Jane Eyre, well I'm close to done with that. It's a sweet little book, though I think I should have read it when I was younger and more easily swept away in romantacism. Writing my F train blog post: Sarah and I rode the F not this past weekend but the weekend before that; I'm dragging my feet on getting the post written as usual. And once all of my writing energies are sucked into putting out 1667 words per day, I doubt I'll be doing that many in depth blog posts. And I don't know what else; I'm sure there's stuff.

Never fear though: I'll keep you updated. I'm thinking something along the lines of posting my favorite new sentences or paragraphs here daily or near daily... or something.

I'm excited. Who knows what I'll produce? I'm hoping it'll be longer than anything I've written yet. In what I consider my adult work, my longest piece comes in at just over 5000 words. This is supposed to end up at ten times that. It's also the first time I'm really trying to write about New York City in a fictional capacity.

So yeah, it should be interesting. Wee! Fun.

No comments: