A few days ago, I wrote about NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — and encouraged all of you to consider this event’s wacky challenge: write a novel of at least 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. Those who take the challenge and “win” get a couple of important prizes:
1. Bragging rights to having written a novel.
2. Bragging rights to having written a novel really fast.
3. The completed first draft of a novel.
Oh, and I think the NaNoWriMo folks might also give you a certificate, or some sort of buttons or badges to acknowledge your accomplishment. You can look around their NaNoWriMo website to find out all about those details. You also can register, committing yourself to the task, at the same website and join all of us in the madness. WARNING: You may have trouble connecting to the site in the next day or two. With last minute signups and eager newbies flooding in, their servers seem to be working slowly right now. (This is Halloween, or as I choose to call it, “NaNoWriMo’s Eve,” in this case.)
So, what’s your NaNoWriMo writing plan, then? Assuming you decide to give this a try — and what serious writer would not want to hold a completed first draft of a novel in his pudgy little hand a month from now? — are you planning to just plunge in there with an opening scene, having little or no idea of what you’re going to write, or are you more methodical? Are you going to take the first, let’s say week, and do research and plotting?
My best guess is that the people who meet the challenge mostly just jump in and start typing, doing any research or plotting as they go along. If you’re the obsessive type, you probably already have figured out that you’ll need to write 1,667 (rounding off) words each day to reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of November 30. But, hey, who’s counting, right?
I’ve signed up to try this madcap event since the first year I heard of it, which I think was 2005 or 2006, maybe. I have yet to get serious enough and find enough self-discipline to actually do the writing and make a legitimate stab at it.
This year (or so I tell myself), things are going to work differently. I’ve spent a small amount of time planning and making some rough notes on the story idea I wish to use. I haven’t actually written any of the projected novel yet, because that would be cheating, wouldn’t it? But I’m eager to get started. Heck, given my late night habits, I might even be up this evening past midnight and get my first words down very early on November 1.
Best of luck to all of you who are planning to try NaNoWriMo this year. And may the games begin …