Tuesday, October 26, 2010
A Word On NaNoWriMo
National Novel Writing Month.
50,000 words in 30 days.
I did it last year and won. And, to the dismay of my sister (who also happens to be my roommate), I'm gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2010. I have my laptop, my favorite tea cup, fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm as I type frantically in the cold hours of the morning, and a little friendly competition from my friends at the Fairy Tale Novel message boards to keep me motivated. Sounds like the only thing I'm really missing is an actual plot.
According to Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, that's not a problem.
Some of my friends have detailed plot outlines and character sketches they've been working on for months. Most of them know how their novel will end. They all know their main character's full name and most likely, their backstory. And they all know their title!
With less than a week till November 1st, I admit it would be nice to know some of that stuff about my own novel.
I really admire anyone who can use NaNo as a way to grow in skill and discipline and actually make some progress on a project. But I'm not like that at all. I'm one of the "pantsers" (as in "seat of your pants"). We take a basic plot premise, one or two characters, and pretty much wing it for the whole month. This is obviously not the only way to do NaNo (and for some, it's not the best), but I had a blast last year. I love the thrill of not knowing exactly what's going to happen. That's the allure of NaNo for me. In other months, I can plan and plot and polish. And maybe someday I'll grow into a mature, thoughtful WriMo instead of a goofy, immature panster (though those "mature, thoughtful" WriMos have no choice but to become caffeine-high, crazed slaves to their novels during the month, same as everyone else). Maybe someday I'll spend a couple months outlining and working on a plot that could actually be readable in December.
But for now, my Novembers are reserved for nonsense and insanity. I dedicate this one to the mysterious and wonderful unknown.