Wednesday, November 08, 2006

So the same day I started this new blog, I went hunting through the support section to find out how to include a link. I know a little HTML, but I just wasn't sure how you do it in this context. But while poking around the support pages, I discovered NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. Turns out some guy named Chris out in the Bay Area has declared November to be National Novel Writing Month, and the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. It's been going on for 5 or 6 years now-- the first year with a handful of participants, this year with more than 70,000.

I don't exactly believe in fate, but the fact that I discovered this on October 29 seemed a little too pointed to pass on. So I went to Borders and got the NaNoWriMo book (No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty, which you can also find at Amazon). I'm always in favor of reading a book about something when it allows you to put off actually doing that something. And eight days into the month of November, I have written almost 7,000 words-- behind schedule (you're supposed to average 1,667 words a day), but I'm OK with that. The reason I'm telling all of you is because I'm likely to be writing about this quite a bit.

It's an interesting process. The point is not to be perfect, not to do any polishing or editing, just to pound out 50,000 words. I've written short stories before, and I've wanted to write a novel, but I've never actually gotten past the planning stage (well, besides one really crappy first draft I wrote about 15 years ago). But I can tell you after only eight days that I can already see the point of doing it this way.

Since the goal is to produce an insane amount of words in a mere 30 days, a lot of wiffly-waffly dithering around just gets slashed. You don't have time to worry about perfection. For example. If I weren't doing this NaNo thing, I would have decided yesterday that I needed to start over with a new plot. But there's no way I could start from scratch on the 8th day and get done. So I pushed through, and what do you know-- after plodding through another 100 words or so , I got an idea that put me back in business with the same old plot.

The problem with my plot is a) it's depressing and b) I don't think I"m going to get 50,000 words out of it. But when I was whining about this to my spouse last night, he pointed out that I can't possibly know that until I get to the end of it. Which is undeniably true. So I'm slogging away at it. It's kind of fun in a way. Like standing at the top of a ski run that's a little beyond your skill level, you have to just point your skis down and GO. At a certain point, you let go and get down the hill-- it may not have been pretty, but you're at the bottom.

The observant among you will note that I figured out how to include a link, too. Feeling just a BIT proud of myself this evening. But my shoulders are sore from all the typing. :-)

Auntie BeaN

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