Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To NaNo or Not To NaNo

To NaNo or Not To NaNo--that is the quandary:
Whether tis nobler in mind to suffer,
The slings and arrows of outrageous revisions,
Or to take arms against the sea of book ideas,
And by vomiting out 50,000 words - end at least one of them.
To write--to work fingers to the bone,
And to work fingers to the bone to risk carpal tunnel.
And by Nov. 30th, to end,
The heartache of a rough draft in one fell swoop,
Tis an ambition devoutly to be wished.
To write, to be finished--
To be finished--perchance to put life on hold, ay, there's the rub...

I could go on, but I think I've subjected you to enough of my version of Hamlet's soliloquy. (If you'd like to read the real masterpiece, here's one place to do it.) But just as Hamlet was tormented at this point in the play, so am I tormented by the decision whether or not to do NaNoWriMo. But not as much as Mel Gibson when he played Hamlet. Seriously, the man does insane, tormented, and pushed to the edge of endurance very well! He also looks good in a kilt. *ahem* Back to the topic.

For those who may not know what I'm talking about, November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is for participants to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn explains NaNoWriMo, and I'm linking to it because she's already done the work and I don't have to. :)

At first blush, the idea of putting out 50,000 words in one month--and one that involves Thanksgiving--is daunting. But I'm considering it after reading that Chris Baty, creator of NaNoWriMo, said that the key is to lower your expectations "from 'best-seller' to 'would not make someone vomit'".

I think maybe I could do that. Would it be Shakespeare? Heck no. Would it make someone vomit? I don't think so. If you set the bar low enough I just might be willing to give it a shot.

For those of you also debating with yourself (or with a skull) here's another great blog post by Marelisa Fabrega explaining the process of creating a novel, especially geared toward NaNoWriMo participants (and a shout out to Victoria Mixon for pointing me to the post.)

(You've gotta love Inkygirl's humor. LOL!)

I'm also wondering about not officially doing NaNoWriMo, and doing my own off-NaNo writing challenge for November instead. I can just see myself getting sucked into "writing-involved" NaNoWriMo procrastination by spending too much time on the forums, and the boards, and the blogs, and the Tweets, and the facebook pages, etc. I'm sure none of the rest of you have procrastination problems like me, especially when you have a scene to write that perhaps you're not looking forward to or are scared that no matter what you put down it will never, ever match what you envision.


And because it's Wednesday, I will report that the rough draft of Going Under is chugging along. In 204 words I will break 50,000! Yippee!! I'm a couple chapters into the co-writing middle grade project, and ideas for my middle grade book are simmering in the background. Oh, and I did find this really cool article about phase outlining by Lizette Gifford, which is so intriguing that I do believe I'll try it.

By a show of hands, who either is participating in NaNo or wants to? And who might be interested in joining me in an off-NaNo writing challenge for November instead?


jmkirk said...

I'm doing Nano again this year. Last year was my first time and I enjoyed it in a rather masochistic way! : ) This time around I'm a little more organised and excited to get started! Come on Bookmom, you know you want to!

Deborah said...

I don't know if I want to add another project to all the ones I've already got sitting on the closet shelf. The off NaNo sounds interesting. How about an off off NaNo. Then the expectations will really be low. I could write it while sitting in a tent in the middle of my bedroom, and call the whole experience *meaningful*.

I know... I'll staple myself into my room.

Don said...

I'm thinking I'll still be doing edits in November. If somehow I've got my edits done, I'll NaNoFiMo (for National Novel Finishing Month) and write the second half of the book I've been trying to draft.

ElanaJ said...

I'm doing it. I've only participated one other year (last year) and I managed to churn out over 50,000 words that only made me slightly nauseous. So it can be done.

Anna C. Morrison said...

I'm not doing it, but only because I'm chicken. And the art reminds me of Phantom Tollbooth, too funny!

Taffy said...

I tried NaNo last year 'just to see' if I could do it. I read some of the posts before starting and one said 'turn your brain off and just write or type'. So I did.
And I typed over 50,000 words!
And I didn't start until the 5th.

The story that came out was a about a girl in Africa who is sent away to avoid marrying the old medicine man. When she comes home, her village is slowly dying.

I have NO IDEA where that story came from! But I liked it and am going to edit it and submit it soon. So YES! I am doing NANO again to see what my brain spews.

You should try it!

Taffy said...

I read the other links in your post. I didn't not plan my novel in any way, shape or outline. I just typed straight from my head to my fingers. It never crossed my mind to plan what I wanted to write first LOL And yet, a story still came.
It might be different this year because I have 3 stories outlined with a main idea but this is it. Maybe my brain will pick one of those and write it. I'll just sit back and see...

annmariegamble said...

I'm in--I could use the push, not only for whatever I end up working on in November, but in finishing the current project so I can start something shiny and new! I find the group cheering squad helpful, so even if I don't make 50K, it will help push me further forward than a stealth effort.