Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NaNo NaNo?

By Julie

It’s that time of year again. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, kicks off in less than a week and as always, the cyber world is abuzz with talk of who is NaNo’ing and who is not.

NaNoWriMo is a great way to get started on a new novel, though it doesn't work for everyone. It's also a fun time to make up your own rules and set a big goal even if it doesn't quite jive with the NaNo rules and you can't officially say you "won." The first year I participated, I made it NaNoFiMo -- National Novel Finishing Month. Last year, I set a goal of 40 thousand words, and I believe I made it to 30, but was thrilled with that.

I am not completely sure, but I think this is the first year in several that none of the What Women Write contributors are NaNo’ing. (Speak now or forever hold your peace if you are, ladies!) We had quite a time with it last year.

I will miss participating in the buzzy beehive of NaNo activity this year -- I love it! -- but I think I have a good excuse. I’m on the HOME STRETCH of my WIP! I have somewhere around ten thousand words or 40 pages to write, and then I will be able to type THE END on my first draft of ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE.

I’d love to jump right into another manuscript. In fact, many writers suggest putting your first draft immediately aside for a time and starting something new. They claim your manuscript will be fresh when you read it that way, and that the things that need to be fixed will jump out at you a lot more.

Alas, I am not going to attempt this method this time around.

First of all, I’m not ready to start something new. The “something new” that’s been percolating in my mind for months now isn’t ready to be committed to any kind of paper just yet. I need to create an outline first, and I actually need to come up with a whole new idea for part of the plot as I discovered a favorite author wrote a book in the past that is FAR too close to that part. If I didn’t know her, I’d just plunge on, knowing there are no new stories, only new ways of writing them. But this is just too close to home. She’s about to re-release the book, too, so it would just be silly of me to use that idea. (Hello, Diane Chamberlain! Can’t wait to read Reflection!)

Second, I have not read my manuscript from the beginning since I started it. I managed quite a feat there. I only read back over the last chapter and sometimes only the last scene when I open my document to write the next bit. I’ve never done this before, but it’s another method seasoned writers suggest – just WRITE THE BOOK – and I did it this time. As they say, it’s flat out the Crappy First Draft.

I actually can’t WAIT to read the story I’ve been writing for about six months now. I am certain it will stink. I am certain it will need many complete overhauls before it can see the light of day. But it’s my baby. She’s been in the womb for all this time, and I am dying to know what she looks like. Hope she’s not too ugly!

So instead of NaNo’ing, I’ll be spending the month of November reading my manuscript (because surely I will have typed THE END before too many days have passed in the month) and starting to get a grip on the revisions it will require.

What about you folks? Who’s doing NaNo this year? We’d love to hear about your goals and hope you’ll keep us posted on your progress here or on our Facebook page!

EXTRA CREDIT: Five points to the first commenter who references the vintage sit-com the title of this post brings to mind!


  1. I giggled when I read your title. I've only seen an episode or two of Mork and Mindy, but I got your reference right away!

    As for NaNo...this will be my 2nd year. It saved my writing life last year -- I hadn't written a word in over a year when I decided to participate and I've been a writing/editing machine ever since.

    I'm bending the rules a little bit with this year's NaNo. I'm working on an old project. I've got a first draft of it finished, but it's so awful that I need to rewrite the whole thing. And I'm madly in love with the characters and story, so why not take the chance to finish it, right?

    Good luck on finishing up your ms and reading it over! I write all the way through now instead of editing as I go, and it's always fun to come across something you forgot you'd written months ago!

  2. Love NaNoFiMo (and the Mork and Mindy reference) which is going to be my take on NaNoWriMo this year. I did NaNoWriMo last year and have somewhere around 20k words to show for it. While I don't have any lofty goals of finishing this, it would be nice to make some progress.

    So, NaNoFiMo it is.

    Good luck!

  3. Meiko, you win! Five points to be spent on ... why, nothing at all! ;-) But thanks for playing! Good luck with the rework.

    Melissa, glad you like the abbreviation and good luck with making big progress on your story, too!

    Anyone else?


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