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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

So You Think You Can Write a Novel in a Month!

         There are many articles out there that put down the idea that you can't write a novel in a month.  Those that say my "November obsession,"  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), is not a "real" novel.  There are others that say it's a waste of time, that nobody would read it if they knew it was written in only 30 days.  For the uninitiated, NaNoWrimo is a month where you write 50 thousand words.  This averages out to 1667 words a day (for a 30 day month).
   
        Those naysayers are correct, and I'm not going to say different.  But I bet I just threw a loop at you. "Oh come now Lisa, surely you don't believe that!"  While most novels are 80 thousand words and above;  I'm in awe of those like George RR Martin, and Diana Gabaldon,  whom have written epic length novels.  I'm not even sure how long they are, but they are massive!
 
       Truth is, I do believe you possibly could write a novel in a month.  If you do your first draft in say a week, and then used the rest of the time to revise and edit,,, you could have a ready to send to an editor/beta reader book.  But you'd have to work on that, and pretty much only that.  Those of us who have day jobs (raises hand) can't do so.   However, what you can do is write a FIRST DRAFT in a month.
 
       I've done it seven times during Nano, and 8 including the Camp Nano I did in August of 2012.  It's a first draft, which is called a "Rough Draft" for a reason.  My first attempt at the 50k was not the year I first "won," My first attempt was in 2005, though I had heard of NaNoWriMo for years from other friends, I just didn't want to do it before then.  Although I didn't make it, 35K, my heart really wasn't in it, I had lost interest early on in the story.  It was the year my father passed away that I dedicated it to him.  I hit the 50k for the first time.

      After that, it was easier to reach, for I showed myself that I could do it.  Sprinting with others (or word wars if you prefer the term), helped rack up those words.  Last year I finished in 16 days.  And there are those who do it in...brace yourselves.  ONE.  Yes, that is right, one day.  I know someone who has done it 2 times so far.  She went on to write like a million words in a month.  Granted that was a lot of typing, but she did so.  I think she should win a World Record, and the Guiness people induct her there.  Hmmm... I wonder what the world record is?  Off  to Google I go...

      Well, that was a complete waste of time...I could not find it.  My Google Fu failed me!  Curses!   That is a lot of words.  But like I said, at the end of the month, you have either a finished first draft, or have most of a first draft done.

        First suggestion is to not stop until you have finished the first draft. "Must not edit during NaNoWriMo," should be your mantra.

       Suggestion # 2:

         If I try to edit as I go along, I won't finish the first draft, or make the 50k.  Rough drafts are supposed to be crappy.  And believe me, you should see some of my first drafts <shudders>, they are frightening things to behold!  I actually have to write out of order, I may redo a scene that is later in the story, or skip to the end then work my way back, but I always put notes in to tell me later why.  If I try to edit as I go, I lose all interest in what I'm writing. get confused, or not know where I was headed.

        Now I may make some minor edits like spelling and grammar errors, cause it will be a less arduous process later on...but, I never do a full revision until after the first draft is done.  It's also first draft time that surprises are revealed.  Things I had not known come out and are a constant revelation.  Stormraevyn, my NaNo 2014 novel, was the same.

        The same goes for outlining before I start a first draft.  I have done that only once before, Nano 2012 had a gorgeous, incredibly good outline, I was so thrilled that I had one, that I had more fleshed out what was-going- to happen.   Yea, that didn't work out so much when it came to writing the draft during Nano.  The story refused to submit to my neat parameters. I meandered my way through it, trying to beat it into submission, but gave up and let it have its way.  What I found was a better structure, and more being revealed when I opened myself to what was being funneled through me.

         I think that is the other important thing.  I get bored if I have everything planned out.  The story has no spontaneity... no flow.  Usually when a story refuses to cooperate with me, it has much better plans, and after I let go and let it go it's way, I find it was a better story for it.  Though I still have those, "Are you REALLY sure you want to do this?" moments, but the story is most always right.

        So my words of advice to those who are scared or intimidated by the naysayers, or just the Nano competition itself...even if you don't get a finished first draft, or a malleable story out of the 50k, you have learned that you can make a writing goal, you've gotten over that hurdle.  You've won one of the most fun, infuriating, irritating and wondrous writing contests ever created.  Enjoy your laurels, you've earned them!

Write on NaNo Warriors all!




If you want to see more of my NaNo related blogs, look no further!

NaNoWriMo 101 Series:

NaNoWriMo Basics


NaNoWriMo 101 Basics Part 2:  The Sprint


NaNoWriMo 101 Basics Part 3:  Writing the Rough Draft.



SEE THE NEXT BLOG FOR A COMPLETE RUNDOWN OF MY NANO RELATED ARTICLES WITH LINKS :)















(see Hurdles:  http://velvetdelenn.blogspot.com/2012/11/hurdles-recognizing-obstacles-inyour.html)


 


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