Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For Fiction Writers, Fall Means NaNoWriMo Time

God paints the landscape red, orange, gold, brown, and deep green. Grocery stores prominently display bright Indian corn, orange pumpkins, and decorative gourds in a variety of shapes and colors. Halloween costumes appear, fitting every imagination and personality.
Crisp days and chilly nights put a bounce in our steps after summer's heat. Maybe, the season's first fire blazes at the hearth. But, for fiction writers, fall brings NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?
November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). From November 1-30, writers attempt to complete one 50,000-word (175-page) novel. You may sign up at the website at any time, but the novel must be written in November.

Um . . . It's still October. Why post about NaNoWriMo now?
Though your novel must not be started before November 1, it's okay (and preferable) to begin thinking about the book. You may create character sketches, plan outlines, and research your story now. But you'd better hurry, you've only got two weeks.

What's the big deal about NaNoWriMo?
I can write a novel anytime.
Sure, you can. And regular readers of this blog are writers. But so many people say they want to write a novel, yet few people actually do. NaNoWriMo encourages everyone from auto mechanics to zoologists to actually write the book of their dreams with a community of other writers all spurring one another to victory.

How many people participate in NaNoWriMo?
In 2009, over 165,000 ordinary people started to write a novel. By November 30, more than 30,000 individuals had become novelists. How cool is that!

What happens after November? What's next?
First, do the Snoopy Dance and celebrate! Whether you crossed the finish line with a completed 50,000-word manuscript or only came close, your book is still a first draft. You'll need to continue reading this blog and others, like The Ponderers and My Book Therapy, and study books on the writing craft. Your novel will still need to be fleshed out--no one really buys a 50,000-word manuscript--then polished and edited. But that's really the easy part. You can fix any problem. But you can't fix a blank page.

So, what are you waiting for? Begin pondering your story and get ready to NaNoWriMo!

~ Roxanne Sherwood

1 comment:

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