Sunday, October 28, 2012

BW44: National Novel Writing Month

It's that time of year again - time for Nanowrimo which is short for National Novel Writing Month.   If you aren't aware of what it is - here's the skinny:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

I've been participating every year since 2007 which makes November a very crazy, stressful, interesting month.  Why do I do it?  Because it challenges me to be creative.  Plus I get to lock my internal editor in the basement and have fun just writing without worrying about the rules, plus it gives me a head start on completing a first draft.  This year I've had a goal to learn more about editing and revision, because, yes at some point, I'll try to get one of these puppies in good enough shape to query a publisher.  

There are so many how to and do this and that rules books.  I've come across a few that have really been beneficial and even recommended by professional editors including James Scott Bell's  Revision and Self Editing and K.M. Weiland's Outlining your Novel.

I'm currently reading Writing Begins with the Breath by Laraine Herring.  

In this distinctive guide to the craft of writing, author Laraine Herring shows us how to tune into our bodies and connect with our emotions so that our writing becomes an expression of our full beings, rather than just an intellectual exercise. With warmth and wisdom, Herring offers a path to discovering "deep writing"—prose that is unique, expressive, and profoundly authentic. Lessons and imaginative exercises show you how to: stay with your writing when your mind or body starts to pull you away; explore the five senses in your writing; and approach your writing without judgment.

Plus I just received The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler which is based on psychological writings by Carl Jung and the myth making philosophy of Joseph Campbell.  It's a big book and sure I'll be using it more for editing once I'm done with this first draft. 

So if you have ever had the urge to write, jump in and join the rest of the nanowrimo's. For those nonwriters among us, check out Publisher's Weekly Best New Books for the Week of October 29th

 A fool-proof method for sculpting an elephant:  first, get a huge block of marble; then you chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant.  ~Author Unknown

 Link to your most current read. Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you have multiple reviews, then type in (multi) after your name and link to your general blog URL. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post. 



  1. I did Nanowrimo with a bunch of women one year. I am not sure when it was, but it was SEVERAL computers ago. I wonder where it is? Have fun!

  2. I have done it a few times and am giving it another go this year. Haven't really planned anything, just have one crazy little idea and I am literally going to write at the seat of my pants this year. Hope I can still get some reading done too!

  3. I was doing so good! I've already hit the 52 mark but I was going for a book a week. Last week I finished nothing! I was on vacation but didn't read in the car and our days were spent hiking. I'll be back when I have reviews to link.

  4. Sounds like a fun month! Good Luck, novel-writing participants! I love that quote about how to sculpt an elephant!


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