Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fun: Wanna write a novel? NaNoWriMo

A lot of people dream of writing a novel. Becoming a rich and famous author would be a nice perk, but most just want to prove they can do it. That they can run the marathon of writing a 50,000 to 80,000 word book, from beginning to end, without giving up and quitting. But few of us actually do it. Why is that?

Probably the number one excuse is "I just don't have the time" follow by "I don't have any ideas," "I give up or get lost very early in the process," or any number of reasons.

Can you spare one month? Well, maybe if you're not a CGSC student. In fact, what are you doing even reading this post? GET BACK TO WORK! But if you aren't a CGSC student, or if you're a CGSC student who is a bit MAD, maybe you are ready to spend one month writing your novel. A month? Are WE the insane ones? Nope! It can be done! Every November, thousands of real-life authors and would-be authors come together to write 50,000 words in one month in a contest of epic proportions.

So, you say, I want to go a little crazy. How do I do it? 

National Novel Writing Month  (NaNoWriMo for short) is that one special month a year where we might all go a little nutty, but at least we do it together! For 30 days in November, contestants write 1,666 words a day (1,667 on the first day) until they reach 50,000 words. If you "win," and make it to 50k before the month ends, you can submit your manuscript to NaNoWriMo's checker, which does nothing other than verify your word count, and you will be awarded the distinction of "winner." It comes with a certificate and icons and everything!

What's the point?

Most of us never get started, or never finish, because we don't have a deadline. Even self-imposed deadlines don't work for many--we're just too good at knowing there *really* is no crisis if we don't finish on-time. And then we start getting in our heads. We dwell on every word, every plot point, until we're paralized with the need for perfection... and then BAM. Nothing happens.

But if you have to make your word count (1666 words per day), you can come up with amazing solutions for problems, discover new things about your characters and plots, and generally get the job done, with the aid of a real deadline (not finished by Nov 30 at 23:59:59? NO WINNER STATUS! NO CERTIFICATE! NO CUTE LITTLE AVATARS!).

Writing a 50K novel in one month forces us to get over ourselves. We have to solve problems on the fly, or just keep going even when we're sure we're writing stuff that might be bad or just plain awful. Remember, you can fix anything in revisions! However, you can't fix what you haven't written. So this contest forces amateurs and professionals alike to just keep plowing through, no matter how tough the going gets. 

So, have we intrigued you? Have we gotten you curious about the possibilities?

Check out NaNoWriMo's website HERE.

And check out their page on HOW IT WORKS which gives details on how to get started, how to verify your word count, and how to participate! Join their forums and make friends, go to meet-ups and have fun working on a novel from beginning to end in 30 days!

So, you've got a week to think of something, then, READY, SET, GO!

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