It’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month! It’s that month of crazy where writers all over the world grind out 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1st and 30th. No sweat!
This is where writers reach down within themselves to fling words at the pages as fast as they can. This month is the epitome of the sh!tty first drafts that Anne Lamott talks about in her book Bird by Bird (and the sh!tty first drafts chapter is a good one to read if you plan to dive into this endeavor).
NaNoWriMo isn’t for everybody — Maggie Stiefvater has written a Dear John letter to the idea, because this way of writing isn’t her way of writing. Nothing wrong with that. Whatever method brings you to an awesome book is the method you should use.
This time for NaNoWriMo, I’m cheating. I’ve written a 152-page rural fantasy about kids turning into animals, but for some reason the plot still hasn’t bothered to show up. So I’ll hide those finished pages and write the story again from the beginning. Maybe this time around I’ll tie all these threads together and get an idea for a ending with explosions. Wouldn’t that be nice!
If you’re up for the crazy, go to the NaNoWriMo main page and sign up. Good luck!
P.S. Debbie Ridpath Ohi has a link to a NaNoWriMo musical at her website … because she can.
Good luck with NaNoWriMo, Melinda et al. I had committed to this task during the second semester at Hamline (that's right–during). The exercise proved freeing and helped me exhaust the inner-editor–emphasis on "exhaust."
Anyway, this "event" can be a useful, fruit-bearing exercise.
I did that too at Hamline because I was going ARRGH ARRGH I'M NOT GETTING ENOUGH WRITING DONE HERE. It helped! But I cheated that year too because I was mainly trying to get the second half of the novel finished.
Sometimes it helps to put on the jet pack and flip the switch and hold on! Sometimes you go a million miles that way. Though, admittedly, sometimes you just crash into a tree.
Dude, the pizza guy in the parking lot is wearing a gigantic leprechaun hat. Happy Halloween!
There's something about typing a mile a minute and letting yourself go anywhere anypace anyway. Well those aren't real words. At SCBWI the other day, the whole room of attenders were stunned when Mike Jung told them that he had to rewrite his whole novel from a new character in order to finish the first novel he finally published. For some reason, they are thinking that the draft text is sacred. It's like an artifact to preserve as much as you can at all costs. I think really it is just a wrinkled old road map to treasure. The draft that is. I have several of these maps from Hamline and Nano. It takes superhuman courage to go back and work on a messy Nano novel full of ninjas and hidden treasure, and all that we hold the most dear. Did I just slip into second person again? Well, that I hold most dear. I don't have ninjas, just girl scouts. I'm really beginning to wonder if my subconscious inner writer is a sissy. I guess she knew that, so this time we are going with dragons. I'm feeling much better about her now.
Polly, I had that happen to me with a previous draft — had to take out a main character and then the whole damn thing changed entirely and it was pretty much like starting over. But if you began at the end, it wouldn't be any fun. (though part of me says OH YES IT WOULD.) You're right, the story is like a treasure map. I like that a lot.
I need some ninjas in my story. But I have a mountain lion, does that count?