I know there are writers who are girding their loins, adding to character sketches, and working on plot points to prepare for NaNoWriMo, the National November Writing Month, the sprint where writers sign up to pound out 50,000 words in one month–supposedly a novel in thirty-one days. Every time I read that, it makes me tired. But in truth, IF a person wrote ten pages a day, and each page had 250 words on it (though most of mine don’t), then in theory, he’d be writing 2500 words a day, and in 20 days, he’d have 50,000 words.

Put like that, NaNo sounds do-able, especially since most writers who sign up for it don’t polish as they go. They just vomit words on paper. Which is fine if you know those words add up to something, and when you finish, and then take time to polish what you have, you’ll end up with something good. But that means you need to be prepared BEFORE you start on November 1st.

Mae Clair wrote two good blogs about NaNo for Story Empire. Here’s the link to one of them, and once you’re there, you can find the other one: She’s going to give it a go this November. It’s never tempted me. I can’t turn off my inner editor. I prefer to rewrite as I go and make any tweaks while I’m working, so they don’t get more out of control as I go. No time for that if you’re dashing down words.

I understand the appeal of NaNo, though. Some of my friends never polish their work until the first draft is finished. They swear the momentum inspires them, and they’d lose creativity if they edited their thoughts and words as they worked. I’m the opposite. When I know something doesn’t feel quite right or fit like it should, it drives me nuts until I fix it. Which is why one writing technique doesn’t work for everyone. We’re all different.

I avoid NaNo, but it might be perfect for you. People encourage one another to meet their goals. And if you can keep up the pace, you might have 50,000 words to start December. I’m wishing any of you who try it swift writing and a Muse who smiles on you. Good luck!

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo (well, not me)

I’ve never tried NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month), an annual event that takes place every November, but a lot of writers participate in it.  In the old fable, NaNo writers would be the hare, pounding out a book in a month.  I’m a tortoise–slow and steady.  But NaNo inspired two great blogs on outlining by K.M. Weiland.  Now, I have friends who write wonderful books by the old seat of your pants method and others who start with four sentences that ground the entire book–the turning points that guide the entire story–but then there are people like me who jot down ideas for each chapter (making sure to hit those 4 turning points).  But I’d still be a slouch compared to K.M. Weiland.

I’ve never outlined as much as K.M. Weiland does, but I can see how her method would create rich characters and conflicts.  I especially like her idea of digging into your antagonists before you spend too much time on your protagonist, so that they’re a solid part of your story, not just an afterthought.  Anyway, if you’re a NaNo participant, and you do a little, some, or all of this homework before you jump into your month of writing, you should end up with something solid, so I thought I’d share the links.  And if you’re putting fingers to the keys in November, good luck!


Happy Writing!