‘Its the most wonderful time of the year…’
No not the one in December…
NaNoWriMo is almost upon us, and if you are planning to participate this year, you may be plotting already, even if your plotting to take the fly by the seat of your pants route, you’re probably scribbling down a few idea’s to set yourself up for the annual festival of writing. Of course it’s always possible you have no idea what i am talking about. Or you know what I am talking about and are planning to flee for the hills. But for some of us, me included despite having a fairly disastrous run at it last year, November means National Novel Writing Month, or to be more exact as this month long festival of writing is some what ubiquitous, International Novel Writing Month. Though InNoWriMo has never caught on as a hash-tag…
For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is based on a simple premise. The challenge is to write a 50000 word first draft novel over the course of November. Which works out at around 1667 words a day. The focus is not on creating a finely crafted work of art, but on getting words down on a page. The theory been that the first draft is the hardest part, and its in a way a collective effort, the NaNoWriMo organisation will point you in the direction of local groups of writers and forums with whom you can chat, and encourage each other and on occasion have someone to vent to about how your main character is utterly ignoring the plot you scribbled down on the back of a fag packet… For what is always an ostensibly introvert activity, the NaNoWriMo community is very supportive and inclusive and often just plain fun.
No one is going to judge your work. There is a participation trophy is you register with the NaNoWriMo website, and manage to hit the target. But ultimately the quality of the work is not a matter of question, or indeed the point. To paraphrase Stephen King , ‘To be a writer you need to write’ which is the point. NaNoWriMo encourages writing. Many NaNoWriMo writers never publish their work, or ever intend to. Some will put out their completed novels to the community via websites. And some will take what they wrote in the mad festival of literary insanity and polish or complete them and eventually they may well become published novels. Certainly that is the case with my first novel ‘Cider Lane’ for which the first draft was a NaNoWriMo project. And while none of my other novels started out as NaNoWriMo projects as such, there have been ideas, characters and whole sections of my NaNoWriMo projects which have. Mainly though, I start this every year for nothing more than fun. Though I tend to use it to work out some ideas or perhaps string out a first draft of something.
I have talked about NaNoWriMo before in far more detail in previous years, with plenty of bits of advice and suggestions, hence all the links below, I also attempted to blog about the whole thing on a day by day basis last year which went really well… Until it didn’t, but as I say last years run turned into a bit of a disaster.
- First Drafts: The Nanowrimo way
- A quote or two for NaNoWriMo
- To Plot Or Not To Plot
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 1
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 2
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 3
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 4
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 5
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 6
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 7
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 8
- 30 Days of NaNoWriMo day 16
Last year I worked on a fresh story with a working title of ‘The elf kings thingy’ but real work which had a busy period as it often does in november due to the industry I work in, and a whole bunch of other things combined to scupper that novel before it got beyond 20k words. that and blogging each day which had seemed such a good idea…
This year my plan is to use NaNoWriMo to try and finish a first draft of Maybe’s Daughter. Which is cheating to an extent, as currently that first draft is about 28000 words, but as my plot notes and planning for that novel means I expect it to run to about 80k, I have 50k words to play with. It been sat waiting for me to pick it up again for a couple of years now while the first two Hannibal novels were written, and as I plan to start the third Hannibal novel in earnest in the new year, maybe would continue to sit about waiting to be written otherwise. So this is a marriage of convenience for NaNoWriMo.
So that’s my plan, to get back to Maybe, Gothe and Benjamin West. I need to do some prep, I was halfway through an editing sweep of Maybe’s Daughter when I last picked at the manuscript, which needs to be finished before the 1st of November, then its tally ho and off we go for 50000 words of first drafting goodness…
To anyone else already planning for NaNoWriMo I wish you luck and good writing… To anyone inspired to give it a go for the first time , ‘welcome to the party punk’ enjoy