Friday, October 30, 2009

On Your Mark. Get Set. Type!

Halloween is coming up, but something else also is fast approaching, something much scarier.

NaNoWriMo  

For those NotInTheKno, NaNoWriMo is the name of a month-long writing event (National November Writing Month), where writers "pledge" to write--and write a lot!

From the NaNoWriMo website:

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.

According to my math (50,000 divided by 30, carry the twelve, minus the inverse of Avogadro's number squared, plus four score...), well, that's a fair number of words every day. (Okay, my slide rule tells me it's 2000 words a day, if you take Sundays off to watch pro football. If you are a Skins fan, do yourself a favor and find something else equally enjoyable to occupy your Sundays, like getting a root canal. Make that a double root canal.)

For many, it's a challenge to keep up that pace for a whole month. But don't worry:

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.

That's the kind of writing I can embrace!

Of course, with such quality control, you know who's most frightened by NaNoWriMo?

Agents.

Because many of them will have the, uh, privilege of reading NaNoWriMo efforts.

Another quick calculation: NaNoWriMo novels are finished on November 30th. Throw in three days to edit/revise. Add fifteen minutes to bang out a query. So agents can expect the query barrage to begin on December 3rd.

Of course, I'm just kidding (everyone knows it takes at least a week to revise a first draft). I think any type of program, event, marathon, party, initiative, or outright threat that gets people writing is great.

For the record, I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo. Not this year--too much other stuff going on to commit to 2000 words, six days a week. Maybe next year I'll be in a place where I can give it a whirl.

To all those participating:  Good Luck!  

To agents, I have one word: DecMoLoVac (December Month Long Vacation).


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6 comments:

sue said...

I'm not participating in it either, technically. But with a deadline of Jan. 15th breathing down my neck, I will be keeping the same tough schedule.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'll be lurking there. :) I always do...I never follow the rules, but I always seem to have a WIP I want to knock out. I feed off of the participants' drive and creativity.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I plan to lurk for the same reasons as Elizabeth. I'm thinking about wearing a cloak because you can't lurk properly without a cloak.

Elspeth

Margot Kinberg said...

I intend to "lurk," myself. I can't participate openly because of the craziness in my life right now, but will definitely be interested! Hopefully I can be disciplined enough to keep up the pace even though I won't be "officially" participating.

Alan Orloff said...

Sue Ann - As much as you write, I'd think 50,000 words in a month would be an off month.

Elizabeth - A lurker, but not a rule follower, eh? I won't tell anybody.

Elspeth - With all your experience in dramatic productions, I bet you have a whole closet of cloaks.

Margot - Another lurker. If there are four or five lurkers for every official participant, that's a lot of wordings getting written in November.

Annette said...

Good luck to all Nanowrimo participants. I'm passing on it again this year.

Fun post, Alan. Thanks for the laugh. And excellent advice to the agents.