Well, as you can probably guess, I did it. I signed up to write a novel in the month of November. Thanks to Steve for the link, though it was really more of a reminder. I heard about the National Novel Writing Month back when I was considering trying to write a novel in 58 hours, which is really a fine piece of insanity. 30 days is pretty crazy, too, but at least it’s plausible. It’s only 1,700 words per day. And they don’t have to be good words, just words.
When Steve e-mailed me the link I decided I’d give it a try. That day I visited the site and signed up. Of course signing up with a bunch of strangers doesn’t mean much.
So I told my wife. Of course I tell my wife a lot of things, so it’s pretty commonplace that they don’t all come through. (then she went and blogged about it)
So then I bought No Plot? No Problem, the how-to book written by the NaNoWriMo founder, Chris Baty. I’ve now invested $14 in this gig.
But there was still a chance I could chicken out. So now I’m blogging about it. I’m telling everyone out there that I plan to write a novel in 30 days. I hope you’ll help me stick to it. There’s no backing out now.
So of course I have lots of planning and thinking to do.
Just to answer some of the initial questions, the organizers are defining a novel as 50,000 words. That’s probably not real novel length, but it’s still pretty long. It will require 1,667 words per day. Or 2,000 words per day and I can take Sundays and Thanksgiving off. Considering travel time around Thanksgiving, I might want to work Sundays and take travel days off. Then again, I will be in Green Bay. Saying I have to go write my novel would be an ideal way to escape the family. It might even be enough to hold my own.
The official rules allow outlines and plot notes, but they frown upon pre-written prose. So it seems wise to me to figure out what I’m doing ahead of time. I’ll probably be delving into my own personal slush pile of quasi-started story ideas.
There’s the fundi-terrorist who blows up stripper joints and is some how connected to the “Jesus Saves” graffiti.
There’s Sedgewick, my depressingly heartfelt story of Job trapped in an 8-year-old’s body. Though my best story ideas for Sedgewick involve him growing up. I’m a bit scared to subject Sedgewick to a one-month writing spree, though. I like him, and I’m not sure if I want to bludgeon him to death like that.
There’s my continual dramatic teen story. I think I actually have two or three of those ideas, but they always blur together. It somehow feels like a cop out to write about teens because there’s so much handy well-written inspiration, from dramedy TV shows to 10 Things movies.
And there’s always some new idea I haven’t come up with yet. That’d be wild.
I’m also wanting to get myself in the fiction writing spirit. I started reading High Fidelity the other day simply to digest some fiction. I haven’t read any in a while and I need to get it back in my system. I also need to start writing some fiction. My last attempt didn’t go so well, so I’m eager to get back in the saddle and get warmed up. And something tells me 30 days of novel writing will have plenty of crappy metaphors like that.
I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do with the finished novel. I’ll probably wait until I actually finish it to do that. Part of me wants to publish it online for all to read. Part of me will probably want to burn it. A more practical side of me says I should post some excerpts and hold out for the movie deal. Another side of me wants to make a cheapo Cafepress version and sell it to all you suckers who read this blog. But you’re all smarter than that.
I think more than anything I just want to add “novelist” to my resume. I should get a T-shirt made that says “I became a novelist in 30 days. Ask me how!” or “I finished writing a novel while you were eating leftover turkey” or maybe just the simple “I’m a novelist.”
Last year 25,000 people tried this thing, and 3,500 actually finished. Somehow that makes me feel better.