November is upon us and that means it’s time for NaNoWriMo… which for the non-writerly means something like National Novel Writing Month. I think. To me it’s just NaNo. This is the time of year when writers buckle down with the goal of writing a 50,000 word book in just 30 days.
Levels of seriousness vary. Some people won’t consider plotting or character notes before November first. It all has to come out of the blue, no pre-scribbling allowed. Other people have plots ready to go and are calculating how to unnaturally fluff their word count with long chapter titles, characters with multiple names and the gratuitous use of conjunctions and adverbs to be removed at a later time. Most NaNoers fall somewhere between these extremists.
I think I’m a liberal NaNoer. My goal isn’t the purist view of getting a complete novel written, plot to the end, in 30 days or less, not is it to slap up 50K of questionable words so I can claim a “win.” My goal is simply to write.
I know, I write the other 11 months of the year, so why bother with NaNo? Well, NaNo challenges me. Every year I’ve attempted NaNo, I’ve learned a little something abut me and how I write. My first year, I had never finished a story. I had serious doubts as to my ability to come up with a complete plotline and see it through. The lure of hitting 50K had me writing though and before I knew it I had a 27K novella completed.
Wow, a whole, albeit short, story!
So I jumped back in with a second story and it capped off at about 20K Not only did I have one complete story, I hit the end on two of them in just three weeks. Thanks to a nasty bug I spent the last week of November in bed instead of writing, so I never hit 50K. That didn’t matter to me, though because I discovered something important: I could write a book.
I never looked back.
My ability to plot has never been a concern since that first failed NaNo. After all, if I can do it twice in a month, what’s the problem?
Now I don’t care if I write the whole thing or even make it to 50K. Those aspects of my writing journey are established. Still, I’m sure I will learn more about Voirey Linger, author this month, and what I discover will be worth far more than 50,000 words on a page.