Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Weeks to Get a Great Idea

Only two weeks to go until we arrive at the writingest month of the year, November.  Every year, a few thousand crazy souls work up the courage to attempt to write an entire novel within 30 days as part of a process called National Novel Writing Month.  I've been doing it for 6 years now, with 4 successful years and two that just didn't quite make it.  That's not untypical; there are people who have been doing NaNoWriMo year after year, and people who have completed something like a novel every one of those years.

The process is pretty simple.  You can outline, you can do character backgrounds, you can design a cover and come up with a title and all of that, before November.  But you can't write a single word on your novel until 12 midnight, very early on the morning of November 1st.  And then you have 30 days to get to 50,000 words, which is a very short novel, but there are plenty of books about that length, including this one, that one, and this one as well.  All quality works, I can assure you.

The process can be a maddening one, of course.  You have to write roughly 1667 words per day, which is almost 6 pages.  This is every day, whether you're working or not, sick or well, eating Thanksgiving dinner or on the road.  It's a tough, grueling pace, but a rewarding one.  Looking at those 180 or so pages, at those 50,000 words that you've just produced, is one of the best experiences you can have.  It proves that you could, possibly, maybe, hopefully, be a writer.  It proves that you've got at least one (probably unexpected and amazing) story in you, and maybe more.

I'm doing it again this year, of course.  I'll fit in the hours of work somewhere around the edges of my normal life.   And if you're thinking that maybe it sounds fun, you should check out the website.  Seattle's one of the biggest cities as far as numbers of participants and word count, so that's a big support network.  And then there's No Plot, No Problem, by Chris Baty, the man responsible for NaNoWriMo coming into being, who runs the whole show and still manages to produce a novel every year.  If you decide to give it a try, look me up here, and we can be writing buddies.

And after?  Well, you'll have a finished novel, and you'll want a copy of it, I'm sure.  I always do.  This year, we've got a way to help you with that:  Homer, our fabulous EBM machine.  We can help you with set up and formatting, and we can print out your book for you.  Even if you know (as I have some years) that it should never be read by anyone who doesn't know and love you, you can still have a copy on your shelf to show off to friends.  And if you think it's good?  We've got self-publishing options for you, and we may even stock your book in our stores.

You've got two weeks.  Time to start that outline.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Hey! Yay! Also, for those looking for support, there are NaNoWriMo workshops in November at both Seattle Public Library and throughout the King County Library system. Check their websites.


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