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Friday, October 28, 2011

This is Mork from Ork saying, "Nanu, NaNo?"

November is almost here and many of you know what that means: It's National Novel Writing Month!

Anyone who's a writer, married to a writer, friends with a writer or knows someone whose second cousin twice removed's best friend's girlfriend is a writer, has heard of this strange phenomena.  A whole month of writers staring at their keyboards, willing at least 1667 words to appear each day.  Praying for the 50,000 word to manifest itself before the clock strikes midnight on November 30th.  Ignoring family members' pleas for them to eat, or at the very least, take a shower.  And if you hadn't already, well now you have

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short (or NaNo for those of us too lazy to spell out the entire abbreviation) allows writers of all ages, skill levels and from all over the world to share the stress of writing a novel (or at least the first 50,000 words of a novel) in only 30 days.  The deadline tends to loom large even months before it hits and the closer the start of NaNo gets, the more frantic the participants get.

Writers tend to be split on their feelings for this event meant to bind us all in unity and suffering.  Some look down on it and its participants as only being 'hobby' writers and not serious writers.  They poke fun at it and its overtired, worn out writers, thinking nothing good can come from anyone churning out words at such a breakneck speed.

The other camp of writers love NaNo, despite the sleep they lose and meals they miss.  The deadline is seen as a challenge to overcome and force them to focus on their writing.  With certain quotas to fill each day, the time for procrastinating is done.  At least until December.  They know their work will be rewarded when they have a first draft in their hands to be edited and reshaped to perfection.  They also have the inspiration of Sara Gruen' WATER FOR ELEPHANTS and Erin Morgenstern's NIGHT CIRCUS.  Both found their start as part of NaNo.

Personally, I started out in the first camp, thinking it was all a bit silly.  What kind of work could possibly be written in such a short time frame?  Last year, under peer pressure, the peers of which shall remain nameless, I caved and gave it a shot.  Guess what?  I became hooked.  In those 30 days I wrote the first draft to DOWN THE WOODED PATH.  There was a need for me to meet those deadlines.  When I checked in with my numbers, it made me a little giddy to see the bar slowly filling up and watch my stats.  Most importantly, it made me write.

This year I'm back and, call me crazy, attempting two projects at the same time.  During the day I'm hoping to crank out another YA novel tentatively titled MOTHER OF MONSTERS, set in ancient Greece and filled with loads of mythology.  At night, it'll be collaboration time with hubby as we attempt to get the first season (sans the first episode) of TINMAN drafted and ready for editing.  Wish me luck and feel free to send me lots of coffee.  I prefer French Vanilla, but really any kind will do.

I hope to see more of my writer friends joining us as we embark on this insane mission.  I know there are a lot of people already in stress mode, but all joking aside, don't stress over it.  Enjoy the craziness as your characters take off in directions you never intended.  Love the little unintentional quips they throw into your dialog.  If it doesn't work, you can always take it out later.  In December, when we all change into National Novel Editing Month.

Who's joining me?  Are you planning ahead or flying by the seat of your pants?  Keep me up-to-date on your stats by adding me (Emily Rebecca) to your buddy list on NaNoWriMo's website.

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