November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. There are naysayers out there that say a novel must be carefully planned and written over the course of a year or several. I am not one of those naysayers. I began writing my first novel in November of 2014; I failed miserably only penning about 14,000 words. I came back strong in April though and finished a 50,000 word novel for the first time. For the record, the goal is 50,000. The idea behind 50,000 words is a simple one. Here is why NaNoWriMo creators chose 50,000 I’ll let you read that.
However, I am going to tell you why I think 50,000 is a great idea. For starters, 50,000 words for a novel is incredibly short, like 200 pages. Some might call this a novella, I think that is a misnomer, though. It is a short novel, but not a novella. That being said, 50,000 words is not enough for the type of novel I write. In fact, it is at least 25-30k short of a short science fiction novel. So, why does NaNoWriMo work for me?
1. It keeps me honest.
I tend to be notoriously lazy. Most of the time I will read more than I write, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also means I tend to procrastinate in my writing. NaNoWriMo (having at least 3 events a year) allows me to get my creative writing done in a single month. Potentially I could do three novels a year if I were to particpate in every NaNoWriMo (Nov, Apr, July).
2. It gives me a goal.
See number 1. If I have a goal I do not procrastinate, because I am often quite determined to reach a goal once it has been set.
3. 50k is not too much.
I love writing, but between work, school, and parenting I don’t have all the time in the world to do it. 50,000 sounds like a huge number, but that is roughly 1600 (give or take) words per day. Kept up over 30 days, you have a novel. A skeleton of a novel at least.
4. Editing is where it comes to life.
During NaNoWriMo I write, I write everything I can think of, I follow a basic plot line without too many subplots. I follow 1 or 2 characters and their current experience. When I finish at the end of the month I have a novel, but not one I could publish. I spend the next three months (before the next NaNoWriMo event) writing in backstory, subplots, additional characters, and robust description.
5. I am not alone.
This is a national event, there are people all over the country doing this with me. One of my coworkers (sits right next to me) is also a NaNoWriMo participant, he is also the one who told me about it. We compare numbers throughout the month. For instance he told me today he is at a word count of 7,500 words. I am at 1,005. Competition kicks me into gear every time.
If you note number 4 above, I don’t take 50,000 words and call it a day. I spend a great deal of time perfecting my work. NaNoWriMo is an excellent tool for allowing me to build the frame of the house that is my novel. However, a frame without walls, insulation, duct work, electrical, furnishings, and decorations is not much of a house at all. So I take the time after NaNoWriMo to build my book into a complete novel and once I’ve done that I get it edited, and then I edit it again. So I think it is time I got back to writing, other than this blog, and started catching up that 7,500-word maniac. By the end of the month, I should have a nice frame to work with. Until next time folks.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Author,