Friday, November 1, 2013

November is National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month, which is something I have very mixed feelings about:

  • Do we need more people writing novels?
    • Well, maybe not, but it's not like you have to read them, so you don't get to tell people to knock it off if this is what they want to do.
  • Isn't November a terrible month for this?
    • Absolutely: besides Thanksgiving, there's the ramp up to Christmas--meaning there's lots of distractions.
  • Will pumping out 50,000 words in a month result in a good novel?
    • Probably not, but the point is just to get people past the "blank paper" paralysis. The motto is write now, edit later.
  • Will you actually write 50k words?
    • Well... that's the hope.
I joined NaNoWriMo two years ago, primarily as a way to meet creative types when I moved to San Angelo in October. It worked: the people I met then have been meeting as a writing group for two years. My novel project for that year started as a joke--1984 from the POV of O'Brien--but then I started to get actually interested in it. Short version: I never really planned to write much and then when I started to care about the story and wanted to outline, that just slowed me down. So I didn't write 50k my first year.

My second year, I was going to write short stories, but I got fouled up with editing. I know that's my major problem when trying to write: I'm always second-guessing myself into paralysis or constant re-working. So I basically pulled a Professor Sea Gull, working and reworking one longer-than-necessary short story.

So those are two problems I have: I like to have an outline beforehand--though it can change as I write; and I like to edit (which is a no-no for NaNo). But there's a third problem: the "grass is always OH SHINY" problem: I always have ideas and I always want to be writing those other ideas instead of the story I'm working on.

I have ideas this year for getting over those first two problems: I have a few stories outlined, with notes and ideas; and I'm going to try to remember Robert Sheckley's advice to think that you're not writing a story, but only a simulation of a story. I'll just say to myself, "this is an oddly detailed outline" and keep on going. (Also, I'll try to use brackets and reminders rather than doing all the "research" that usually derails my writing.)

As for the third problem, I'm just going to have to lock the door and say "no" (or rather "later") to any ideas that come in over the transom, as it were.

So, let's see if I can do it this year.

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