So I’ve been keeping this quiet as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go ahead with this challenge. If I’m honest, I’m still not sure, but I’m going to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. Well, something along the lines of NaNoWriMo.
So what is NaNoWriMo, I hear you ask? It stands for National Novel Writing Month and the idea behind it is to write a novel of 50,000 words during November. It’s a bit of fun really, and aims to prove to people that anyone can write a novel length story. The focus isn’t on quality, it’s purely on the number of words. Get it down and you can always rewrite and edit come December… but not before. It doesn’t matter whether your protagonist changes names or even gender mid-sentence, you do not stop!
Some people are very dismissive about NaNoWriMo, arguing that it forsakes quality for speed, but I have to say that most writers I know use a similar method of getting a first draft done and then worry about the quality in subsequent drafts. And yes, technically 50,000 words isn’t a novel, but this scheme is all about changing you from saying that you are going to write actually writing. Throughout November there are various meetups where WriMos can get support and connect to others doing this crazy, crazy challenge.
I first attempted it 3 years ago with a children’s story but I lost momentum after a week. The following year I did a lot of planning and preparations, and not only managed to write a 90,000 word novel, I actually wrote something enough that I intend to revise it one day soon.
This year I’m going to try something different. I’m not going to write one, but two novels simultaneously. And not only are they going to be proper first drafts of books I would one day like to publish, but each of them will be well over 50,000 words.
All this stems from my blog post the other week. The first book is the sequel to the book I’m currently shopping to agents, the second a weird Western-inspired fantasy with helicopters, ghost animals and witches. I know the first book well enough that I have a large majority of it planned in my head. The second book, I know very little about and will be making it up as I go. This will be a new experience for me, who tends to let ideas ferment.
On top of this I’m going to be blogging, working on some non-fiction projects and agent hunting. I’m probably going to fail, but even if I only get 25,000 words done of each novel, I’ll have completed NaNo.
The biggest challenge for me (aside from the number of words) is ensuring that each novel maintains a distinct voice. I have some tricks up my sleeve I plan to use to do that, but even so, I can’t help but wonder if I’m completely insane for even attempting this. Oh well, only one way to find out…