Thursday, November 1, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

November 1, 2012 begins National Novel Writing Month and sends many writers scurrying for their keyboards. In honor of the first day of many writing days to come, I thought I'd share some of my views on this event.

There are probably as many writers who disdain this process as there are those who anticipate it.

I'm one of the writers in between. I've participated two other years. One year, I produced a beginning to a novel and a bunch of short stories. This collection of basically a mess is sitting somewhere in the darkness waiting to be resurrected. The other year, I produced a decent novel in major need of repairs. I'm hoping to get it together this coming year.

So, two years equaled two piles of words in need of first aid. Why am I doing it this year?

I have a plan this time around. I believe one of the biggest mistakes a writer can do is to go into the high paced challenge without a plan. Writing words just to get to 50,000 without any purpose can result in a novel, but chances are it's going to be a mess to repair.

The purpose of NaNoWriMO is to write with your internal editor off. Some mistake the 'internal editor' for the Editor. The Editor is the part of you who makes your story complete. He is the one who goes behind the writer and fixes up the craft, corrects punctuation, and even dots a few 'i's.

The 'internal editor' is a whole new species. This is the gremlin that stops you two sentences in, saying, "Do you really think you can pull this off?", "Who do you think you are Stephen King or something?", "No, no, you can't start the story there? - A page later - "No, no, you have to start over, this isn't right."

Writers - kill the 'internal editor' and write from your heart. Let the words flow one right after the other. Bleed onto the page. Without the cranky jabbering of this gremlin, you'll be surprised how many words you push out in a day - challenge or not.

Don't forget to give the Editor his turn. His job is just as important as yours but see if he'll wait till you finish up the crafting first. Some writers have to edit as they go. If this is you, go ahead. There's no harm in it, but make sure you allow enough time to get your writing done also.

What if I don't get my 50,000 words by November 30th? My advice - keep writing. Just because the challenge is over doesn't mean you can't finish up your work. If you don't, then you just wasted thirty days that could have gone elsewhere.

What if I'm not finished with my novel by November 30th? Again, keep writing.

If your only point to participate in National Novel Writing Month is to write 50,000 words, then you are missing the point of the Novel part of the challenge.

I hope all who are participating enjoy their writing during the month. Those sitting back watching, get ready for a new novel for your reading pleasures.

May your MUSE be with you!


Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Very sound advice, Cher. I also liked what Alexandra Sokoloff had to say on her blog. She teaches the 3-Act structure. I've never participated in NaNo and can't see it happening anytime soon. November has always been a heavy month of work for me. My hat's off to all those who do partake.

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck with NaNo! I hope you get many words written in your new novel!

Cher Green said...

Joylene, Thanks for the reminder of Alexandra's blog. Haven't been there in a while. I'll go by and see what she's up to.

Cherie, Thank you and also luck to you. Made it through the first day. 29 more to go.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cher. Yay another nanoer. We seem to run into each other everywhere lately, lol.

I'm KttyB78 at Nano. Feel free to add me. I'm cheering for you. :)

Cher Green said...

Hi Kitty, Added you as a buddy. I'm SCWriter.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Cher! Good luck with NaNo. I'm participating again this year. Happy writing. : )

Cher Green said...

Susanne, Thanks. Good luck with your writing also.

Annie Neugebauer said...

Some really great points in here, especially the bit about the difference between the internal editor and just the editor. So true. I also think you have a good point about finishing the novel after 1 month/50k is up. If it’s not a project you plan to finish, then it’s true that the month could be spent doing more productive things Good luck with yours this year!

Cher Green said...

Annie, Thanks for the luck. :)

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