Yes, I’m in the great big middle of NaNoWriMo...For the uninitiated, that’s the annual month-long frenzied attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a mere thirty days...the month of November.
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo to the addicted, is a compelling effort to produce a first draft under the most trying of circumstances and without looking back to edit or even figure out what you’ve written. It helps to have a plot, but it’s not necessary.
2007 was my first attempt. In preparation, I wrote a detailed plot and intricate character studies. I planned ahead. Stacked Lean Cuisine in the freezer; explained to friends and family that I would not be much use to them during the month and to ignore me unless my neighbors reported a strange odor emanating from my house.
Thus armed, at midnight on November 1, 2007, I sat at the computer and wrote something completely different. Yes, my brain was hijacked by a completely different set of characters who took me to a new setting and made me write their dark and steamy mystery. I was possessed.
And being totally paranoid about the possibility of failure, I wrote the 56k word story they dictated in the first 18 days of NaNo. Then, because all my writing buds were still pounding the keyboards, I selected something I had abandoned in my WIP (works in progress) file and completed it in the remaining 12 days.
BTW: We do have permission to write total crap. A crappy completed first draft is far more valuable than the flawlessly crafted first chapter that some idealists insist on perfecting before going on to the next one. You guessed it. Nothing is ever perfect enough, so they keep reworking it ad infinitum. The message here: Just write it...My initial 56k novel turned into 92k in revision and with the addition of a secondary story line. Just write it...
My 2008 NaNo novel is in less of a hurry to be born. I changed horses at mid-stream to write something screaming in my head. Although not at the word count I should have attained by this date, I am feeling pretty good about the fresh and quirky characters driving my fingers to fatigue.
If you are NaNoing, leave me a reply and tell me how you’re faring. Good luck to all the NaNo participants and to anyone else with their fingers on the keyboard.