[extropy-chat] National Novel Writing Month - who's game to try?

Emlyn emlynoregan at gmail.com
Mon Oct 17 01:08:53 UTC 2005

On 17/10/05, justin corwin <outlawpoet at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 10/16/05, Emlyn <emlynoregan at gmail.com> wrote:
> > That's my plan too, although we (my wife & I) did a test run last
> > night - this is going to be around an hour a day if we don't worry
> > about the quality of the writing :-)
> >
> > So what's limited participation? Are you going to push for the 50K words?
> Well, It's National Novel Writing Month, which to me would imply
> completion. I'm just going to try to be past 50k words by the
> deadline, which will likely be far from a completed novel. To speak
> nothing of editing and rewriting, which would push the needed
> involvement much higher.

No no, it's really just a first draft as far as I understand it. Here
are some excerpts from the FAQ:

How do you win? Are there judges? What are the prizes?
The way to win NaNoWriMo is by writing 50,000 words by midnight on
November 30. Every year, there are many, many winners. There are no
"Best Novel" or "Quickest-Written Novel" awards given out. All winners
will get an official "Winner" web icon and certificate.
What if I hit 50,000 words but I'm only halfway through my story?
The 50,000 word limit is a threshold, not necessarily a stopping
place. Reaching 50k and realizing you still have a lot of wrapping up
to do is a good thing---it gives you something to come back and work
on later.
Do I have to start my novel from scratch on November 1?
This sounds like a dumb, arbitrary rule, we know. But bringing a
half-finished manuscript into NaNoWriMo all but guarantees a miserable
month. You'll simply care about the characters and story too much to
write with the gleeful, anything-goes approach that makes NaNoWriMo
such a creative rush. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate, and
you'll tap into realms of imagination and intuition that are
out-of-reach when working on pre-existing manuscripts.
Does that mean I can't use an outline or notes?
Outlines and plot notes are very much encouraged, and can be started
months ahead of the actual novel-writing adventure. Previously written
prose, though, is punishable by death.
Can anyone participate in NaNoWriMo?
No. People who take their writing (and themselves) very seriously
should probably go elsewhere. Everyone else, though, is warmly

Also, I think that editing and rewriting are out of the picture for
the month. My thoughts on this are that, to succeed, you need to be
aiming at what is really a first draft (hey, do an edit if you come in
early, but how likely is that?). You need to *not* be writing the
great novel you always wanted to write, but some cheapy idea that you
kind of like but aren't too attached to. Especially if you are an
aspiring writer, for Dog's sake don't work on anything precious to
you; you'll be too worried about wrecking it in the frenzy.

So it sounds like what you are trying to do is exactly on target for
what the event is all about. Don't call it limited participation, you
are going the whole hog!

> I'm just going to tack this onto the end of the day, pushing out some
> personal recreation, because my schedule is already 'full'. If I were
> a little more flexible, I might try to spend more time on it.

Well, the point is to do it, whatever it takes, but not to overdo it I
reckon. The method you describe there is exactly what I'll be doing,
and I'm way overloaded already. However, I've developed a bad habit of
watching late night tv in recent times, so I'm hoping to replace it
with "novelling" for a while...

(from the "History" section of the site)
But fun? Fun was a revelation. Novel-writing, we had discovered, was
just like watching TV. You get a bunch of friends together, load up on
caffeine and junk food, and stare at a glowing screen for a couple
hours. And a story spins itself out in front of you.

I think these people must have quite intellectually abusive televisions.

> It would be nice to see a spate of good short science fiction come out
> of this, I see the sci fi section of the nanowrimo.org forums is
> pretty busy.

I wouldn't be able to write a hard sci fi in the time frames, it just
requires too much brainwork, planning, research. Bah.


http://emlynoregan.com   * blogs * music * software *

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