Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My plans for Halloween and NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is Halloween and I don't really go all out for this holiday. I don't dress up but I do wear my Superman shirt to work. I do that for two reasons -- 1.) Every day I have to wear a shirt with my name and my employer's brand on it, so it's nice to do something -- anything -- different. 2.) It obviously irks the crap out of my straightlaced (read Grinchy) boss but there's nothing he can do about it other than seethe.
I bought a stack of Uncle Scrooge comics by the great Carl Barks to hand out to trick-or-treaters. My wife said you better give 'em some candy too so the little hellions don't egg our house. So, come see us tomorrow night. You'll get graphic goodness and something to make your teeth ache too.

After that is when the real fun begins. November is National Novel Writing Month -- or NaNoWriMo -- and you can read more about it and sign up to participate here. The goal is to write a full-length novel in a month. It doesn't have to be good, it just has to be 175 pages. There's lot of encouragement available at the website including pep talks from the likes of Neil Gaiman and Tom Robbins. From the website:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month 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.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2006, we had over 79,000 participants. Nearly 13,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: Sign-ups begin October 1, 2007. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.


I'm signed up and going for it, but 50,000 words is a secondary goal for me. My main goal is to write for at least for an hour a day and hopefully get into the habit of doing so. I'm also hoping to not write crap. An hour a day doesn't sound like much, but with a full-time job -- actually fuller than fulltime; I'll probably be working six days a week this month -- a houseful of teenagers, a wife, a cat that needs nigh-constant chin scratching, and an epileptic shar-pei, I'll be hard pressed to find sixty minutes a day.

(By the way, if you're an eccentric millionaire blog-browser and you want to finance my novel, I'll quit my job, buy the cat one of these and write fulltime. I'll even dedicate the book to you.)

I'll try to keep y'all informed as to how each day's writing goes. If any of you want to join me, I'd love to have you.

Wish me luck -- no, wish me discipline.

1 comment:

Pete M said...

That actually sounds like fun. If I didn't have a thesis hanging over me, I'd give it a shot. Maybe next year, though...