It is time, kids. Time for what, you may ask? That most wonderful time of year, and I don’t mean when the drug stores put out Christmas decorations, because that happened yesterday. I mean NaNoWriMo. It’s time for me to sit down and work in quantity, busting out a 50,000 word novel in a month.
I did it last year and it was fabulous, and gave me the seed of November Girls. This year, my mission is writing the sequel, November’s Child. The events of the story take place seven years after November Girls. I’m going to write it as a standalone novel as much as I can, at least for the initial draft.
Why embark on such madness? Especially when I am actively revising November Girls? I thought about that one a lot. And I decided that I could a) have some revisions done by Dec. 1, or b) have some revisions done AND have a draft for the sequel by Dec. 1. When I think about it that way, there’s really no contest.
Here’s my favorite explanation for why you should do NaNoWriMo (from the website, www.nanowrimo.org):
“If I’m just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?
“There are three reasons.
“1) If you don’t do it now, you probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a “one day” event. As in “One day, I’d like to write a novel.” Here’s the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It’s just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt, the rest will come easily. Or painfully. But it will come. And you’ll have friends to help you see it through to 50k.
“2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you’ll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you’d never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.
“3) Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and “must-dos” of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.”
My silly, secondary goal is to post daily to this blog, which may be anything from an excerpt to a word count update to me writing “I am not sleeping and I want to beat myself over the head with my laptop until I pass out.”
Wish me luck! Tomorrow, it begins!