Saturday, September 25, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

I know I've mentioned NaNoWriMo a couple of times recently so I thought I should mention it a bit further. NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. It is held annually in November, and hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world participate by attempting to write a 50,000 word, semi-coherent novel from 12:01 AM on November 1st, until 11:59 PM on November 30th. The idea is to simply get your ideas on paper, and accept that the first draft will be bad whether you spend thirty days, or thirty years on it. Editing comes later.

Participants chat online at and discuss everything from grammar issues to favorite novel-writing snacks. In addition, local groups will meet up for "write-ins" at local coffee shops and libraries, where they work on their novels, chat, and have various contests for highest word count, etc. NaNoWriMo is all about the word counts. NaNoers have a million ways to boost their word count, from the fair (long stories told by one character to another) to the slightly unfair, but still doable (having a character with twelve middle names, which are all used every time they are spoken to, or having a character quote long passages of Scripture)

I participated for the first time in 2008, writing, and finishing, a 75,000 word novel based on my personal experience with online dating and the stigma that I felt from family and friends. In 2009, I was too busy and didn't participate but I'm going to go for it again in 2010. Every year, various regions (as small as a city or as large as a country) compete for highest total word count among everyone in their region. Seattle has consistently won, year after year.

This year, my novel is going to be a mystery/thriller novel about a young photojournalist who stumbles upon a village deep in the jungles of Venezuela where the people are living just as if they are in a 1950's New England village. He must attempt to find out the sinister scheme behind their disappearance from 1953 Pennsylvania and their re-appearance in 2010 Venezuela. Along the way he gains friends and a girlfriend, and possibly finds out some dark secrets in his family's history.

So starting in October I need to begin constructing an outline for it (outlining etc before November is fair game, as long as you don't start any actual writing) to be ready in time for November 1st. Then in November I need to average over 1600 words a day to "win" NaNoWriMo by completing my novel.

There's still time to sign up if anyone is interested. It's free and just for fun. Check out for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment