News room: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo by Book Badger

The organisers describe it as:
a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. National Novel Writing Month is a movement that has been growing for ten years now and it seems like the ‘seat-of-your-pants’ approach is catching on. Of course, being Americans, I think they actually mean trousers. I have to admit though, being a badger, I don’t generally wear either.

So, what is it all about? Basically, participants begin writing on 1st November and the goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. That’s nearly 1700 words a day…fairly prolific by most people’s standards. But it seems that it is achievable.

NaNoWriMo started in 1999 with a group of just 21 people writing in San Francisco and has grown into a mass of over 100,000 people writing novels all over the world. Last year, over 15,000 participants managed to became a NoNoWriMo ‘winner’ by submitting their 50,000 words on time.

If you have the time I would strongly recommend that you read the History page on their website. It’s a very amusing account of the progress of the idea, learning the hard way and a cautionary tale of what happens when a creative project you are involved with ends up taking over your whole life.

So, what is the point of concentrating on quantity rather than quality? Well, apparently,

By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

And it seems that there are not just therapeutic benefits and confidence-building that can come out of this endeavour to keep you inner editor at bay. There are a number of NaNoWriMo writers who have been subsequently published (following a bit of editing I’d imagine!) Maybe this initiative just gives people the excuse they need to dedicate some real time to writing, as well as taking off the pressure to create a masterpiece.

I’m still debating whether to try this out this year – I’d like to be able to call myself a novelist, but 50,000 is one hell of a lot of words. Even with my go-faster stripes, I’m not quite sure that I would manage it! Has anyone else tried this, or something similar?

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4 Posts

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    Aodhan Young


    29 Oct 18:31

    I am doing that!

    Chinelo Ibekwe


    07 Mar 16:52

    I don’t really think it would be a lot of crap. I’ve tried it and one tutor of mine described it as a messy and choppy novel but it definitely wasn’t crap. A year of editing and I love it. It’s called FATSO!

    Chinelo Ibekwe


    07 Mar 17:16

    By the by, there’s this book that changed my life as a teen but tragically, I just can’t seem to remember it’s name but STILL need to find it.
    The book was based around the Industrial age and there was this company that had a few problems and was closing. Meanwhile, there were rumours of bribes and mismanagement at the top but nobody knew what was going on for sure till the government took interest. They did that because it was huge and even though it was privately owned, it was the main employer in that city. they knew that if the company went, the city would go too.
    THE SOLUTION; Presenting Jack, the man of the moment and a double 0070, as slick as a chick-flick and as cool as a cucumber. (sorry, disregard the chick-flick, he was all maaaaannnnnnnn!

    Now the bosses had been scared of intervention until they met jack in the boardroom and remembered, oooh, you! our own jack, the ne’er-do-well that used to be in lovewith the bosses daughter but got into a few problems and had to leave… so they promise him daddy’s little seductress and a lot of cash to go tell hQ that the company is beyond repair.

    jack knows his people, Jack used to live in that city infact, Jack used to own that City so he knew who was who and what was what.
    1, He used to love the woman and got his heart broken. Never again.
    2, He had unfinished business with daddy-o. Company beyond repair? Me does not zink so! It’s pay back time but there’s nothing better than when payback means putting in a lot of honest, back-breaking hardwork to teach the thief that shattered your heart and reputation a lesson.

    The best part is that Jack’s creator never explained his past to me to beg for my understanding, how could he know meso well?
    Andto Jack, how could you leave me standing at the altar of St Mellitus Church, Tollington park Road, N4? Just how could you?

    Chinelo Ibekwe


    21 May 19:51

    Jack eventually learnt to forgive himself for being so gullible in his youth, he also fixed the factory and his reputation, got the girl and his new father-in-law’s respect.
    A round of applause for Jack, to remind him that I am still waiting!!!

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Nanowrimo and Novels