Monday, December 10, 2007
In case you didn't know, National Novel Writing Month (more commonly known awkwardly as NaNoWriMo) was in November. The month is dedicated to writing an entire novel, and the goal of everyone who participates is to write 50,000 words in one month. I've heard of it for years and never participated. Well, this year I had a novel idea that I really wanted to do, and it was October anyway, so I signed up. And I did it. It was a close call for a while there, considering on Nov 15, I had only written 17,000 words, but I made a burst of speed in the end by writing at work.
In the end, I found myself disappointed by the whole experience. I'm happy I finished the novel, but I realized that the whole exercise is kind of pointless. First of all, technically 50,000 words is not a novel. That's a novella. Second, the FAQ discourages focusing on things like character, plot, and revision, just brute force. Well, I could write 50,000 words of garbage, but that doesn't do me any good. I also discovered that a few of the "winners" cheated by starting the month with more than zero words to begin with. I also discovered that while many people who participate do publish their works, most never actually go back and polish up their NaNoWriMo works. It's a good writing exercise to get past writer's block, but I can't take it too seriously. Still...I won. And I have a first draft. Which is a good start.