Wednesday, October 28, 2009

November is Officially Write a Novel Month

November is officially Write a Novel Month (Thirty days and thirty nights of literary abandon)
by Sue Berger

In 1999, Chris Baty and a group of friends got together and challenged each other to write a novel of 50,000 words of more in ONE MONTH. Why? Who knows? Crazy!

But seven people completed the challenge. They did it again the next year with more people… This is the tenth year of the marathon. It has become an international event with more than 100,000 participants.

I participated in 2004. When I heard about it, my thought was “No way!” The longest piece I had ever written was 16,000 words. Then I went on the Nanowrimo website. I bought Chris Baty’s book. “No Plot No Problem” and I decided to give it a shot.

It was an amazing experience. What I had given myself was a gift – a deadline.

I gave myself a daily stint of 2000 words. Often I would look at what I wrote and say, “This is awful!” Then I would say, “Never mind, it is word count. Keep writing.” I silenced my inner editor and on November 29th 2004, I had a 50,000 word first draft of a YA novel.

The odd thing about the experience was that the 2000 words per day on the novel seemed to fuel my other writing.

I made new friends, and had an amazing experience. I started Nanowrimo again in 2006. That time, I did not complete the book. But I still go back to it. I am glad I started it. No one (including me) gave me a bad time about not finishing.

Have any been published?

NaNoWriMo books have borne the logos of presses such as Warner Books, Ballantine, and Berkley Books. Published novels include, Sarah Gruen's Flying Changes, Rebecca Agiewich's Breakup Babe, Dave Wilson's The Mote in Andrea's Eye, and Gayle Brandeis's Self Storage. This is a link to the Nanowrimo FAQ on their published stats.

Go ahead! Give yourself an adventure.

Look around the site and see if it appeals to you.

Once you sign up for Nanowrimo, you will want to “customize” your experience.

1. Set your region. Mine is Los Angeles. I attended several “write outs” in my area. We met at coffee shops and libraries.

2. Set your forums: There an active online community for your genre. Check which areas you want hidden or visible. Far down the list are “Genre Lounges” There is a lounge for Young Adult and Youth. There are a lot of lounges you may prefer to keep visible.

There are other things to do on the site, i.e. set up your “Author Information, upload a picture. Watch the Nano video on October plotting. I once thought 50,000 words in a month was impossible. Last year more than 21,000 people completed the challenge. Have fun!

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