Tuesday, 3 November 2009
It's That Time Again
My inbox has filled up with messages over the last week from authors announcing that they will be 'unavailable' or in some cases, 'completely out of it', due to their participation in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writers Month which falls each November. I'm sure I don't have to explain the rules, but authors 'win' the challenge by producing a 50k draft manuscript in 30 days.
I tried it last year, [and won with 60k] because I had an idea in my head and needed a good kick to get me started. There was lots of rewriting to do, which is accepted, but that manuscript is now ready to be submitted.
Fellow Author Emily Bryan has a different take on NaNoWriMo which really made me think. For instance, she says the NaNoWriMo website says:
"Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing." and she asks:
'Why is that a good thing?' Good point, I have never thought to question that statement.
Emily says she prefers to 'only go forward', and to do re-writes in small, manageable increments. '50,000 words of mess would totally overwhelm me.' Her goal is to have a manuscript that, at a pinch, she could send out.
I admit I cannot do that - so NaNoWriMo was good for me to 'get the story down'. I'm a 'snowflaker' in that I build the bones of a story together with the basic dialogue, then I go back and add emotions and inner thoughts, then sprinkle with witty remarks and then the 'fairy dust' , the nuances that give the characters their individuality.
I need to know where my story is going and like Ms Bryan I do historical research first to get a feel for the era, then while I am writing I research again for specifics: like 'What happens at a 17th century Twelfth Night Party'?
We are all different, and there are as many authors as books - so I would be interested to know how many NaNoWriMo winners finally get those embryo manuscripts polished and published.