And it’s November. Where has the year gone? November brings crispy nights (snow if you live in the wrong areas), the smell of wood stoves in the air, football games on TV, Christmas merchandise in the stores (urgh!), thoughts of a huge, delicious meal for Thanksgiving and the desire to write. Nah, not the desire- the gut wrenching, caffeine laden, snack munching, compulsion to write. And not just write, but to cram fifty thousand words in thirty days on paper.
For those of you who don’t know or have been living under a writing rock, in the month of November millions of people world wide turn into Nano-ers. What is that you ask? November is National Novel Writing Month. Or nanowrimo for short. During this month you pledge to other writers (and yourself) to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. Yes, fifty thousand. That’s one thousand six hundred and sixty seven each day. Yes, each day.
Impossible, you say? Nah. Difficult. Time consuming. A labor of love. Yes. A contest between writers? Absolutely. Who can finish first? Who can finish at all? Competition and camaraderie. And the prize at the end? Mostly just bragging rights. Oh yeah and a great start on a novel.
I say a great start on a novel, because during the month of writing, the idea is to go for word count not quality. For once quantity not quality is the goal. So you learn to spell out all numbers (five hundred twenty three counts as four words as apposed to 5323 which only counts as one), separate compound words (can not counts as two words instead of one- cannot), and never, ever use contractions (do not counts as two words while don’t is one). And the best thing, most fun thing, and to most writers that like to use lots of adjectives and adverbs in their writing that eventually get cut by editors, you get to use as many of the wonderful, high descriptive and some times (see- two words) totally use less (another two words) words just to pad the word count.
Seriously though, I’ve participated in Nanowrimo for almost ten years. And won all but two of the years. Almost all of the ‘novels’ I’ve written during this month have a great beginning to a real novel. So when I pare down all of the added words and re-contracted the contractions, and stuck the compound words back together, I usually come up with about 25, 000 words. A really good beginning in any one’s opinion.
If you are up for a challenge and can put aside your inner editor for a month and just write… join the writing community world wide and write. Check out the website at http://www.nanowrimo.org Every region in the country has a group you can join. Spend time on the forums to meet people in your area (not too much time, since you need to be getting words on the computer), or even world wide. If you have a pressing question, there are literally millions of people who you can ask.
So don’t write alone, at least in November. Come join all the other crazy writers. And writers those 50,000 words for the fun of it. Or for a future published novel. Or even just for bragging rights.
Angela Abderhalden is the author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series and Acquiring Editor for Seventh Wave Books, LLC. They are looking for authors all the time. Check out the website at http://www.seventhwavebooks.com