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Jacob
01 November 2003 @ 11:17 pm
National Novel Writing Month

Okay, disregarding the incredibly short-sighted name (they claim that InNoWriMo doesn't sound as cool), this seems to be a fairly worthwhile movement. Encourage the masses to get cracking and write "that novel", but more than that, to write it in a month.

I'd say that anyone who thinks they can write a decent novel in such a short time deserves the drivel that they get, but I'm sure that a work of genius could be cracked out in that time.

But my biggest problem here is from the 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."

If you can complete a novel in that space of time, good luck to you! No problem so far.

"Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over talent and 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."

Well, it's starting to get a bit scary here, but so far it's just being inclusive. Anyone can participate is what they are saying here. Again, good luck to you. I wouldn't want to try and keep the art of writing solely in the hands of people who are actually good at it.

"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."

Quantity not quality? This is where they start to lose me. I truly believe that in the process of writing it is better to write crap than nothing at all, but you shouldn't be aiming to do so. For the love of all that is good and holy, take your time with your writing. If you write 50,000 words without a second thought as to what you are actually writing, you will end up with the most amazing pile of shit on the planet. Why would anyone want to spend a month making a manuscript that is completely unsalvageable.

"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."

Oh, dear. Time for a BIG reality check boys and girls. Writing a novel is probably just as much about the "endless tweaking and editing" than it is about the initial writing. And as I say, if you zoom through 50,000 words with the attitude that you'll "fix it later", you just won't have anything worth fixing.

My advice to anyone who wants to write a novel (not that I've finished my novel yet, so please, grain of salt...): Make every month NaNoWriMo. Spend a couple of hours a day, whatever you can spare on writing. I use the term "writing" loosely, as I refer to writing, re-reading and editing. Don't be afraid to tweak, don't be afraid to move on. Take it slowly, but don't procrastinate. Don't wait for "inspiration", write whatever comes to you, but don't be afraid to chuck out the crap. Writing a good novel is as much about what you leave out as what you put in.

But, don't listen to me. Churn out 50,000 words and be proud. I'm going back to pottering away on my novel.
 
 
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