Currently, I’m seeing lots around WordPress about something called “National Novel-Writing Month,” also known by its hashtag #NaNoWriMo. I have to admit I’ve paid scant attention to it. I’ve never been a “contest type,” and I’m wary of distractions.
I finally looked at the web site, and realized quickly enough I didn’t need another writing “challenge.” I have one already. For over 10 months, I’ve been up to my eyeballs completing a second novel.
Understand, I’m not arguing one shouldn’t join in the #NaNoWriMo. It’s a personal choice. If you lean that way, go for it.
I seek on this blog to share various of my novel-writing experiences. I would never presume to tell anyone else how to approach their books…. other than generally to urge anyone desiring to write to stop thinking about it, stop discussing it, stop planning it, and just get on with it. Write the novel! Feel free even to write about, uh, vampires! 😉
The last observation above from Béatrice in that Frontiers excerpt speaks to my aim in novel-writing. I believe a book should make us think, immerse us, take us elsewhere, introduce us to those we’ve not known before, and even perhaps lift us emotionally and spiritually. Above all, it should entertain us.
All of that is, at times, perhaps contradictory, which is why there is no “magical formula” or “template” for producing a novel. There are a gazillion ways to do it. Writing is – and always has been, and always will be – an intensely personal, daunting challenge.
It has taken me since January to produce the 95,000 words that make up Frontiers. I wrote pretty much daily – adding, changing, altering, fine-tuning, detailing, cutting out, etc. The only lengthy slowdown was for much of February – shortly after I’d really gotten going – when I’d totally lost heart after the sudden death of our girlfriend and considered giving up on the entire project and throwing my computer out a second floor window. Her death so early in the writing profoundly influenced the overall tone of the tale. Like I said, writing is “intensely personal.”
I didn’t hit “50,000 words” until almost June 1. It’s November 7, and I’m still tinkering with a word here and there in the final draft. Passports is about the same length book, and also took me a similar time to write in 2012-2013.
So when I saw this “National Novel-Writing Month” goal of encouraging a “rough draft” of 50,000 words in 30 days, my reaction was someone is having a laugh. Talk about setting up aspiring writers for disillusionment right out of the starting gate. For given the incredible difficulty in producing a novel to begin with, the last thing anyone new to writing needs is to be urged to churn out a major part of one at warp speed.
I’m underwhelmed. Not my thing. In the immortal words of one Frank Sinatra, I’ll do it…. my way.
Happy Friday! 🙂