Tuesday, November 3, 2009


By L. V. Gaudet
© November 2009

November is NaNoWriMo.

If you are anything like me, then you are probably shaking your head in a decidedly confused way right now while thinking, “Nanowriwhowhat? Huh?”

This is something entirely new to me. I’ve been writing off and on for years on my own with no contact with the world of writers and publishing. Now that I have become active in that dark dusty untouchable world of online schmoozing with writers and other writerly people, I am (suddenly this past week) seeing this phrase come up again and again.

I’ve learned a few things about the NaNoWriMo phenomenon. First, being that I appear to be the only one in my little online circle who has never before heard of it. The second being what NaNoWriMo is.

Simply put, it is a short form for National Novel Writing Month. It must be a big thing in the writing world; after all it has its own web page. Then again pretty much everything these days has its own web page.

By following this link you can read more about NaNowriMo, check out the sponsors, donate money, sign up to participate, and all kinds of stuff.

Basically what NaNoWriMo is about is whipping off a 50,000 word (175 page) novel from scratch between November 1st and midnight November 30th. It’s about writing your pants off, writing your face off, and writing pretty much everything else off as you write your heart out to pound out an average of 1,666 words per day. It’s not about writing a best seller list novel, or even about having a publishable manuscript come the stroke of midnight November 30th. It’s about tearing your heart out and putting it on the page, throwing caution to the wind, putting aside reason and everything your grade school teacher taught you, and just letting that story flow with all its wonderful charm, passion and mistakes.

Whatever imperfections, story stragglers, and unadulterated gibberish may have found its way into the novel can be fixed later. That is what editing is for.

It sounds like fun.

While I can’t join the ranks of crazed writers torturously flogging away at creating an entire novel in only 30 days, I can admire their moxie and hope that someday (when the kids are older) I can try it too.

In the meantime, I think I will honor NaNoWriMo for 2009 with my own personal nanowriting challenge. My challenge is this: can I bring my WIP (let’s call it Unnamed Murder Thriller) from its current 32,000 words to 50,000 words by midnight November 30th? That is only 18,000 words, an average of 600 words a day. But to add to the challenge, I must also continue the first edit of the written pages, that of seeking out and adding in where the story is lacking thus far. It will be an unlikely success, but fun to try anyway. Watch my blog for updates on my progress, or lack of it.



JaxPop said...

Too crazy for me but I admire all of those crazies hunched over their keyboards.Do you print your WIP as you go? I know, it's kind of expensive but I find it worthwhile. When not writing, or when I know I won't be "plugged in", I'll carry my MS (in a notebook with chapter dividers) & a red pen* & chill out & edit & or make notes. Later I'll incorporate the changes & print again. In the end, I probably print the MS 5 or 6 times (& still wish I'd changed this or that). It's just relaxing to edit at the beach, on the dock, or at a picnic table at the base of my favorite haunted lighthouse. *RED PEN - Pilot G-2 07.

L. V. Gaudet said...

I try not to. Really hard. I just can't get past that need to have a physical copy.

For years I wrote by writing, editing, editing, editing, and rewriting by hand ... over and over (and keep repeating until you run out of breath, suck in a big breath, and run out again). Then I got technological and bought a typewriter that could store up to twenty pages for editing. It had one little electronic line screen that fit about six to eight words.

I'm computerized now, but I'm still stuck in the dark ages. I try to edit as much as possible electronically (over and over etc al), but I still crave that printed copy like a dog craves whatever you happen to be eating.

Printing a short story a few times isn't too bad. But my husband and printer let out collective pained groans when I start printing a MS (yet again). It just isn't "edited" if I haven't scribbled all over paper until even I can't decifer the hodge-podge mess of notes.

Sheila Deeth said...

That sounds more like my sort of challenge. Now just to choose which WIP to apply it to.