I’ve been somewhat busy the past week or so. The usual workload aside, I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. For those who haven’t heard of it, what started off as a creative writing project in the USA back in 1999 has now become a global event every November. The idea is that on the first day, one starts a new novel, and aims to complete 50,000 words of it by the end of the month.
I’ve participated in previous years, but never really got that far into it before calling it a day. This year, however, I am keen to complete the challenge and produce at least a semi-coherent novel.
The rules (as per Wikipedia) are fairly simple.
Since NaNoWriMo is used to get people writing, the rules are kept broad and straightforward:
1. Writing starts at 12:00: a.m. on November 1 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. on November 30, local time.
2. No one is allowed to start early and finish 30 days from that start point.
3. Novels must reach a minimum of 50,000 words before the end of November. These words can either be a complete novel of 50,000 words or the first 50,000 words of a novel to be completed later.
4. Planning and extensive notes are permitted, but no material written before the November 1 start date can go into the body of the novel.
5. Participants’ novels can be on any theme, genre of fiction, and language. Everything from fanfiction, which uses trademarked characters, to novels in poem format, and metafiction is allowed; according to the website’s FAQ, “If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel too.”
The website has a broad community, with lots of engagement and involvment including tools and tips for overcoming writer’s block, developing characters, and working on plot points and structure. There are local groups too, and I’ve been meeting up with a great group of local writers here in North Devon over the past 2 weeks. We tend to just drink coffee and discuss in person the sorts of things that we are having difficulty with, and we contribute our own solutions to one another’s problems. The result is that we all leave very motivated and enthused, ready to keep writing.
Achieving 50,000 words in 30 days means a daily word count of 1,667 words. Doesn’t sound too unreasonable, but when you’re also trying to develop the concept of the story at the same time, it does become very intense. As a result, I’ve had to hold back on my blogging a little. Or a lot. Or entirely. I’m going to try and post from time ot time if I can, but not likely to be any articles, more just general waffle, so please bear with me during this brief semi-hiatus.