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Lately, you may have noticed some strange happenings going on in your writerly world. Perhaps, you’ve seen random folks laden with stacks of yellow legal pads, stockpiling caffeine products, or muttering “character driven versus plot?” all while sporting slightly crazed looks in their eyes. Don’t be alarmed, but it’s only going to get worse…
Yes, we are exactly one week away from the start of NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month.
As stated on the official site, NaNoWriMo “is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.” This challenge is for anyone who has dreamed of writing and finishing their novel — from the published pros, to the newly inspired.
To accomplish this obscene amount of writing in such a short amount of time, the site suggests that while incentives are good, punishments may actually work better. So, what should you do if you find you’re not hitting your daily or weekly word counts? I recommend a day of “poop patrol” for the five-dog family in your neighborhood. Or, how about watching an hour of White House blooper clips from the “Bush Years?” Whether you go the way of awards or threats, make good on your promises, and then get back on track.
I participated in NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and reached the intended 50,000 word mark by the deadline. That novel is currently in seclusion, and has been affectionately entitled, “La Crapola.” Now, onto the second attempt. This NaNoWriMo I’m way ahead of the game — I have a a story outline, character sketches, and a plan waiting to come to life on paper and screen. But, first things first.
My regular readers know that I’ve been working on a middle-grade novel for quite some time. I had given myself until the end of this summer to complete the first draft — with the term “summer,” being open to loose interpretation. Let’s just say that the weather has been unseasonably warm here, so…okay, I didn’t finish.
However, to start NaNoWriMo with a clean slate (since “previously written prose is punishable by death”) my preparation begins today. By following the average daily output (1,666.66 words, give or take), I’ll be done with my current work in progress by the end of this week. It will then be put aside to bubble and ferment, and, hopefully, revise itself while I plow forward and begin my new project on November 1st. It’s all about quantity, not quality, so when the thirty days are done I should be the proud author of not only my long-standing novel, but of, “Son of La Crapola,” as well. One can dream.
Anyone out there masochistic enough to join me? If so, get your outlines done, your pencils sharpened, and your intravenous coffee drip ready. Remember — all work and no play makes Jack finally finish his novel (and go on a murderous rampage, but we’ll forget about that part for now).
See you next week at the starting line…good luck!