Friday, 5 November 2010

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month is, according to the official website, "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."

I missed the start despite having seen people in forums begin to discuss NaNoWriMo over the last month or so. I was procrastinating yesterday, my favourite hobby at present, on the Open University forums. I am desperate to find out my grade for my first assignment... Anyway, I found a forum dedicated to NaNoWriMo and once I understood what it was all about started to get intrigued.

Then I found out some more and lost some of my enthusiasm. On the plus side, the idea of encouraging millions of people to actually write that novel they've been putting off is a great idea. This year, November has 22 week days, so if I was to write 2273 words a day, five days a week, by the end of the month I would have completed a novel. This seems to be the core aim of NaNoWriMo.

On a more negative note, none of the novels are actually read. The website talks about writing a lot of, well, rubbish. It is all about quantity and not quality. Novels are verified by software which only checks word count, not whether the novel is readable, has fascinating characters or a gripping plot.

There are also other limitations set. Participants should not have previously started the novel. This excludes me from seriously ramping up production on Fallen Warriors. Or does it?

I've already been working to a word count for over a year and have found it extremely helpful. Does it really matter if I break the rules in a competition where potentially everyone can be a winner and where my work will not be verified in any way? I'm still not sure if I'm going to enter myself but if I do, I'll let you know.


  1. By looking at the negative side I think you're missing the point a bit. I imagine you've come across "green light/red light" thinking, well this is just green light. This echoes back to what we were saying about some of your first pages of FW, sometimes you just have to grind it out and go back later to tart it up, otherwise you'll never write it at all, or it won't flow because it took too long. Let's face it, people publish a lot of crap that they think is finished, never mind a hurried draft! Do you need to enter NaNoWriMo? Only if it makes you write the book, if you're (genuinely) going to get on with it anyway, maybe it's extra motivation that isn't necessary. PS sorry about the apostrophe angst, these things stick out to me like a fat naked guy on a high street in Japan

  2. Hi John, you are absolutely right. Just writing and getting on with it are extremely important for me right now. Never mind 2273 words a day though, I'm pleased with 200 right now!

    Don't apologise for pointing out my apostrophic errors. I actually am starting to feel like I get where I should use them. If I've improved at all then a huge thank you to you! I'd hate to make you think about fat naked men on street corners in Japan more than you have to...