Friday, October 29, 2010
Thirty Days & Nights of Literary Abandon
If you haven’t noticed, we’re pretty excited about National Novel Writing Month’s “thirty days and nights of literary abandon” around here. It’s a chance for some of us to start brand new novels and for others it’s an opportunity to speed across the finish line of a dear old work-in-progress.
The phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo begins with a challenge: write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. Word-count reigns supreme here, not quality. The idea is to write some “laughably awful, yet lengthy prose” together with thousands of other people across the globe.
Well, as mentioned, some of us are using the thirty days of November for serious work despite the light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek perspective of the people at NaNoWriMo. And there’s evidence that not all NaNo manuscripts die ignominious deaths or moulder away in the dark, dank recesses of a writing file.
About thirty NaNo novels have been published by traditional publishing houses. One has even hit the big time. Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants landed on the New York Times bestseller list and was her second NaNo manuscript to be published.
The NaNoWriMo website has a list of “published WriMos” — NaNo writers who are now proudly calling themselves published authors. Granted, it’s a very small portion of NaNo participants that are published, but it does give hope to those who have the same goal in mind.
Follow us - five word-crazy women - over the next month, and see if we can collectively write 250,000 words. None of us is crazy enough to believe NaNo will be the magic wand that will turn our novels into best-sellers. But we’re determined that NaNo will benefit us in some way, either with brainstorming a new novel, or with developing new writing habits, or with getting the last section of a book finished. Will NaNo be all we hope it is? We won’t know if we don’t try.