Monday, October 7, 2013

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Every writer knows about National Novel Writing Month (usually known as NaNoWriMo or, more simply, NaNo). Even if they don't participate, they do know about it. Social media has seen to that. I'd been one of those who watched posts of writers every November telling of their NaNo experiences, but come time, I had always either been in the middle of another project, or too far away from starting a new one. So while it was a big deal in the writing community, I never joined.

Before I go any further, I probably should explain in case there are some out there who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, despite my earlier claim. The month of November is set aside for writing a novel, defined by the event as a work over 50,000 words. Okay, so it's more a novella at that length, but it's still a lofty goal. There are rules for those serious about taking up the official NaNoWriMo challenge, so if you want to know more, head over to the National Novel Writing Month website to learn more.

As I said, I've never tried before. I usually take about two months or so to get my first drafts done, so getting one out in a month is a lofty goal, indeed. I've never seen the point in rushing; I'd rather stick to my own style. But, having said that, because NaNo is such a big deal in the world of writing, I feel I should attempt it at least once. And since I have a project about ready to start, and I feel it fits in well with the format of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to give it a whirl this year.

The project I'm working on is my most ambitious yet. I have three young adult books under my belt, but this time I'm stepping out of the young adult speculative fiction genre to tackle an adult speculative fiction book. It has a number of different POV characters that will all be facing different individual challenges throughout the book that will all meet near the end to bring the story together and then to a close. I've always started on page one and continued straight through the story until I reached the end, but this time I'm going to tackle it a little bit differently. I'm going to write each of the POV characters' parts individually in the first draft, and then when I finish, in my editing phase, I'll intertwine them throughout to create the vision I have. If I do it right, I think this could be a powerful story. And if not? Well, we authors always have that question in mind before we start, don't we?

So what does that have to do with me thinking this format fits NaNo well? If I hit 50k words before the end of the month, I'll have a few fully-formed stories that I'll be happy to call complete. I will, of course, keep working hard to finish the entire thing, but as long as I finish the month with the word count over 50k, I'll consider myself a winner. Since I write with pen and paper instead of a computer, I don't believe I can officially "win" NaNoWriMo anyway (from what I can tell, an author needs to enter the manuscript into the website's official word count calculator to "win," and I won't have anything to enter), so I'm doing it all for the unofficial experience. I'm fine with that. I'm excited about this project I'm working on, so this will get my pen moving faster. That's all that matters!

I've signed up on the official National Novel Writing Month website, and, while I haven't really looked into everything too carefully yet, I understand people can follow and friend each other on it. If you'd like to do that with me, I signed up as Eric J. Krause. (Aren't I original and clever?) So feel free to add or friend or whatever me. Good luck to all involved! Hopefully many of us will get working novels out of the experience!