What is NaNoWriMo and why should you care? No worries about the scary title – I won’t be using (any more) weird abbreviations, promise. Despite its strange name NaNo deserves to be featured in my first post.
National Novel Writing Month. Ha, now I see the sparks of recognition in eyes behind distant screens… even though this is not exactly what NaNo is. It used to be, but now it’s an international novel writing month. But honestly, how much better would IntNoWriMo sound? Not convinced, because it’s so weird anyway? Try pronouncing Intno and using it daily instead of Nano. See?
So which month out of the twelve is NaNo then? November, of course! A current topic (all by sheer luck for me, of course). You could say the idea is too simple to be true, or maybe it’s revolutionary: first of November, participant sits down (this is optional) and begins to write with the aim of putting down the last, or at least 50,000th word of her brand new novel – 30 November the latest. There’s lots of giving up, starting all over and drinking coffee in the meantime, but once a winner, she can say ‘yes, I wrote a novel’. And that’s something. Winning is first and foremost for the participant, because it’s easy to cheat, but to what point and purpose, as Captain Sparrow would ask? The point of the whole effort is to make writing a community experience (not remotely easy), and to prove that together, with a specific, set goal, even this impossible looking challenge can be conquered.
The effect of the initiative is impressive. Last year over a quarter million people set out for the adventure, including me, and almost 37k crossed the magical fifty thousand word line, including me. Of course, there’s a lot of critiques because of the quality of the writings, or rather the lack thereof. True enough, what kind of novel takes thirty days to write? The participants are well aware of this, but then the mission is not flooding publishers with thousands of drafts in December – although I wonder what statistics have to say about this. The mission is proving yourself that you are capable of struggle for your set goal, that you can, that anyone can write the novel of their dreams, which may otherwise remain a dream forever, and to make November valuable with our new friendships. And with sufficient preparation not all NaNo writings must end up in the bottomless depth of folders on the hard drive, because even though not all winners get contracts, the occasional NaNo-born bestsellers are around us (The Night Circus, anyone?).
Knowing all this, I will be setting out for my second NaNo adventure on the first of November with no less of a goal than putting down at least 1700 words every single day of the month – and adding them to one of my in-progress novels. Which of them I will choose and how I will do (while also finishing my thesis), I will let you know right here on the blog. At the moment Sixth Heaven is more likely, but I may still change my mind and opt for the True Story. Which one do you think makes a better choice? Sixth Heaven, my last-year NaNo-winning first draft, which I have entirely changed since? Or the new story, which I have kinda-outlined (but still know better than Sixth Heaven at the beginning of last November)? Would I get bored or stuck while trying for perfection with the good old story, and would I run into irresolvable dead ends with the new one?
And finally, the most intrigueing question: who else is joining this year?