Thursday, February 23, 2006

Missed NaNoWriMo

I had no idea that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, Nov 2005) existed. I can't believe I missed it.

Basically, every year since 2000, people have signed up to write a novel of 50K words in 30 days -- Not one word less, not one day more. The idea is to get people to actually DO it, instead of talking about writing, and that the deadline gives people motivation to put out their novel -- good, or bad. The expectation is that it will be bad -- that's what later revisions are for. I would have happily participated, had I known. I write, but it's only for private consumption at this point, and a worldwide support system to write (possible) dreck would be appreciated.

The best part, though, is the "contract" that is proposed by Chris Baty, in "No Plot? No Problem!", the book that explains the phenomenon and outlines the rules:
I hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month's time. By invoking an absurd, month-long deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of "craft", "brilliance", and "competency" are to be chucked right out the window where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process.....

During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialog, cliched characters and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected and/or excised at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem it completed. I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process should such inflation prove useful in garnering respect and attention, or freedom from participation in onerous household chores."
He goes on to stress that the deadline is inviolate, and that there is no prize, just satisfaction. How can you go wrong when the whole idea is just so...odd? The idea is that by stressing quantity of words in a short time over quality of work (that may never end) people will take risks.

I absolutely love the idea, and can't wait for the rush next year so I can be involved. You can do it any month, of course, but it's the momentum and synergy of approximately 59,000 other novice writers (about 9000 of which actually made the goal of 50,000 words in a month) that really makes it appealing. There is more fiction written worldwide in November than the rest of the months combined, according to the forum. Most of it never makes it past the Microsoft Word files on someone's computer, but what a great thing!

1 comment:

The Tiger said...

A blog I follow seems to do something with this each year. Check out defective yeti for lots of laughs and a reminder, I'm sure, for next year's NaNoWriMo.