Saturday, October 11, 2008

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month

There is fun to be had in November, and time now to sign up and get yourself ready. Read all about National (that doesn't mean just the US) Novel Writing Month here . Over in the sidebar you'll find a link to the home page and also my page. I have plans...

The gist is that you join up deciding that you'll make/find/create time to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in the calendar month of November. You can clock your count on the site, and be among the winners if you reach/surpass that goal number (anyone who does is a winner - it's not about the prizes). The goal is volume, not exquisitely polished paragraphs. Chasing the words to create a story, which may or may not be finished when you reach 50,000 words or the end of November.

The organisers justify this venture as follows:

NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines. Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen. Pies will be eaten at amazing rates. Alfalfa will be harvested like never before. And novels will be written in a month.

Part of the reason we organize NaNoWriMo is just to get a book written. We love the fringe benefits accrued to novelists. For one month out of the year, we can stew and storm, and make a huge mess of our apartments and drink lots of coffee at odd hours. And we can do all of these things loudly, in front of people. As satisfying as it is to reach deep within yourself and pull out an unexpectedly passable work of art, it is equally (if not more) satisfying to be able to dramatize the process at social gatherings.

But that artsy drama window is woefully short. The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.

If you decide to play too, please leave a comment with the link to your page on the NaNoWriMo site.

In case you think it's all amateur foolishness, the FAQ page on the site lists books published which began as NaNoWriMo works, including Sarah Gruen's Water for Elephants.

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