The last post I wrote was about revolution and Occupy Wall Street(TM) and stuff. This post is the one I meant to write before I got caught up in the other thoughts I was having.
This is the post about National Novel Writing Month and how I have decided to proceed within its strange scope.
The general idea for NaNoWriMo (as we all call it) is that you start and finish the first draft of a novel in the Month of November. Said novel–in order to “win” NNWM–must be 50,000 words. Along the way there are little games added to keep your creative spark energised. Things like “figure out a way to add a pirate and a red paperclip somewhere in your book.”
I’ve “done” NaNoWriMo in every way possible.
1. Started and not finished.
2. Started and finished.
3. Completely ignored.
This year I didn’t think I’d do it again because I can’t take the physical stress of it. But I genuinely like the camaraderie of writing when the rest of the world is. So like last year I’m just doing an extra push with my daily writing and trying to attend some of the local events.
I really do like the general idea of NaNo, the whole “sit down and really force yourself to put pen to paper” is quite a grand idea for writers, most of whom have trouble with the self-discipline aspects of the craft. But here’s the thing.
I’ve now read a lot of NaNo work product. Everything from local writers’ rough drafts to finished, published, chart-topping works. And you know what?
Every single one that I’ve read has too many extra words. Read any of the NaNoWriMo local fora and you’ll see immediately that everyone is pushing and stressing to hit the word count. That word count is the only measure of success in the NaNo universe and as such it is the main thing folks pay attention to. You have a sudden dearth of brevity that reads like a tic. Or should I say “that reads like a spasming, frenetically twitching tic around the corner of her long-lashed chocolate brown eye.” No NaNo work has ever met an adjective it couldn’t wring to death and all of a sudden characters have antiquated five-word names more suited to British Royalty than to lonely teen vampires. Will nots and should nots spring up out of the paper with uncommon frequency and Do Nots trample don’ts into the dust.
Even when the book gets revised and cleaned up, some of that word fever lingers around it like the yellow sick haze in an opium den.
So this is what I’m doing. (I am doing?) I am continuing with my daily writing. I’ve got the blog here, which aims for 500 words a day, and usually makes it without going over. (The Blog Is Right!) Then I’ve also got my various fiction works, to which I have added a new story about a former celebrity who becomes a gentlewoman farmer on a manor farm in the West Country of Ireland. That’s the book I’ve been most focused on, and that’s most likely the one which will get the most attention this month. But those are my NaNoWriMo works. Stuff I always do. I’m just going to put the focus on continued attention to the regular stuff. And hopefully I will not utterly ruin each of my captivating, thrilling, deeply romantic stories with an overwhelming number of extra words.