National Novel Writing Month (NaNo WriMo) will be upon us very soon! After careful internal debate and consideration of the time requirements, I decided I’m going to participate this year!
For those who don’t know, NaNo WriMo is a time of frenzied creativity. It takes place during the month of November and the ultimate goal (“winning” NaNo WriMo) is to write 50,000 words (or 1,667 words a day)—effectively completing a novel-sized story. You can start fresh or continue an existing story. I believe the spirit of the competition is to start from scratch but I’ll probably try to finish up SAAFire since I know it’s going to be a 75,000+ word story in the first finished draft.
There are other months in which the NaNo group puts on similar events, but November is the widely-accepted National Novel Writing Month, during which strangers will come together around warm, mixing bowl-sized mugs of coffee and camaraderie to write their stories and collectively lament or celebrate the various brick walls, dead ends, and surprising twists and turns in their stories.
Apparently, people prepare for this with outlines and brainstorming and plot mapping. I had no idea! When I did it several years ago, I started on day one and flew by the seat of my pants all the way to the last word. Now, I think I’m going to use this competition to finish a draft of SAAFire—mostly because my other novel-sized idea isn’t fleshed out beyond the opening scene. NaNo WriMo offers preparation materials and ideas here and I think I’ll be taking advantage of some of them. I have everything planned out in my head, but vacation sort of derailed my outlining efforts on paper.
NaNo WriMo serves an interesting purpose: forcing writers to focus intensely on a specific story line. Unlike other competitions (which I’ll talk a little more about next week), where the goal is to submit a polished manuscript, NaNo is all about finishing. I love this idea because, to be real for a second, I’ve never finished a draft of SAAFire. Not one. At least, not on paper. In my head? About 3 – 5 drafts have been written from start to finish, but nothing concrete and tangible.
I have to say, my impulse to do NaNo this year is also driven by the fact that I sort of intended to finish SAAFire three months ago and be agent-hunting and editing by now. I’m not even close. 😦
I’m hoping NaNo will change that. I’m hoping this competition will get me to the finish line of my own novel. Then maybe I can do my own review of editing vs. first draft writing (I’ve been seeing a lot of those on the blogosphere lately). I’m dying to check out editing!
Are you doing NaNo? Are you doing it for the fun or for a current project (or both!)? Leave a comment below!