I am on a writing buzz – an actual heart-pumping-dance-a-jig-around-the-kitchen buzz. I’m doing NaNoWriMo, you see, and I’m not losing. Yay me!
For those of you who may not be familiar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and that is November. It is also an event – a bunch of crazy people from across the world attempt to write a novel beginning November 1 and finishing 50,000 words by November 30.
I’ve known about this for several years, but this is the first time I’ve been crazy enough to try. I’ve been pining for a new hobby for awhile, and while writing isn’t exactly a new hobby, the sort of writing done during NaNoWriMo is like nothing I’ve ever done before.
I have written novels before. Three, to be specific. The first was when I was 13, about 70,000 words of angstfull, tooth-achingly idealistic fanfiction based on Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. The main character was the very definition of a Twinky, and I wanted to be her so badly it kind of hurt. Yikes.
The other two are even more embarrassing than that, if you can believe it, so let’s just say that one is a terrible romance (also my life idealized) and the third is a retelling of a fairy tale which could have been better if I had started it with a plan.
So a novel: one that is theoretically publishabe (that is, not fanfiction); one that isn’t Twinkie (that is, about a shinier, better me); one that someone might actually enjoy reading some day (that is, has a beginning, middle, end, and isn’t too boring). I can do eet!
I came up with a premise that doesn’t seem too shabby, and on November 1, I started writing. I honestly did not expect to do very well when I started, but since I’ve gotten going, the bug has really bitten me. I like my characters and even though I still don’t have an actual plot (details!), I find myself excited to learn what they’re going to do next. It’s almost like reading, except it goes a little slower and the copy-editing is much, much worse.
One of the main points of trying to do so much writing so fast is to just get the words on the paper. Every writer I’ve ever talked to says that is the hardest part, and it’s true. Attempting perfection on the first try is asking for failure. It was the doom of Novel #3 I mentioned up there. If you want perfection, you’ll never get far before giving up in despair. Here, you just barf the words onto the page, and if you still think they have potential when you’re finished, you go back and do your revising and editing later.
I am actually quite amazed at how easy it was to turn my inner editor off. Spelled that word wrong and the automatic-spell-fixer can’t figure it out? Oh well, we’ll get it later. This paragraph brought to you by the department of redundancy department? No problem, it’ll come out in the wash. Renamed a supporting character three times in the first six pages? I’ll have a vote-off on a favorite name at the end. Keep using the same catchphrases over and over again? That’s what proofreaders are for!
And so I’m plowing forward in a fairly linear fashion, leaving little notes for myself in places where I’ll need to fill in missing information later, or where I suspect I might have created a plot hole that will need later filling. It’s fun and liberating and if I accidentally write something worth reading, all the better!
When my plot finally starts to congeal, I’ll put up an excerpt or a synopsis or something. Stay tuned. You might get a first gander at a future best seller. 😀
(Please forgive the ego. I just hit 20,000 words and I am, as I mentioned above, on a bit of a buzz.)