To NaNo Or Not To NaNo

My horror muse ran off and had an illicit affair with a pretty transvestite. Sure, I enjoy writing the gay romantic erotica, but I’d rather write horror. I’d rather write stuff that makes a reader say both ‘what the fuck was that’ and ‘give me more’ at the same time.

That’s not why I’m here today. I’m here because I should be writing.

It’s already mid-October and that means that NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. For you non-writers, NaNoWriMo, also NaNo for short, is short hand for write your ass off for the month of November. Yes, of course, it stands for something a bit more akin to the abbreviation, but you get the gist of it.

The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month. The reason for this goal is to get you writing. By throwing out such a high word count (just under 1700 words a day assuming no “off” days) the writer focuses solely on writing, forgetting editing, fidgeting, hours of fascinating but only slightly useful research, Twitter, food, spouses, breathing, and so forth.

In all seriousness, to set aside the need to make every sentence perfect in order to have some chance of reaching this lofty goal, we are forced to focus on spitting out that story running rampant in our minds. Editing will come. It just won’t happen in November. Sometimes we get so bogged down on whether or not one scene is working, or maybe the character should be named Bran and not Dillon, or if the MC should kiss his boyfriend / girlfriend / dog that we waste time wallowing when we should be writing.

So for NaNo, the rule is write. Just write. If something isn’t working, write your best effort and move on. If it really isn’t working, skip ahead a couple paragraphs, or a scene, or a chapter and get the fuck back to writing. Once the story is out, you can go back and fiddle with those spot that made you squirm and scowl, and you’d be surprised at how much easier it is to fix when you have the weight of every other chapter off your shoulders.

It’s tough, but fun. I’ve done these things before. I’m not sold on doing it this year however. Several people I know are going to, but the timing is all off for me. I’m nearing the end of Heaven’s Demons, and hopefully that’ll be presentable by November first when the write-a-thon called NaNoWriMo starts. I also have a decent enough outline for a real demon story, one that might revive my swooning horror muse. The thing is I have two stories that I really want to clean up and send out. I don’t want to wait until 2010 to submit the couple of pieces I’ve been not disgusted by this year. If NaNo was in February, then I’d be much happier. Sure it’d give me a lame excuse to be anti-social at Thanksgiving, but it would also delay the heavy editing and polishing.

I’m torn. To be in a mood for this step – this finish work – is rare. I can’t afford to dismiss it, even for the moral support and OCD needed to finish something like NaNo once I start. I’d get a lot done, if I signed up, but it might not be what I wanted to accomplish. It wouldn’t be bad, but still, I’m torn.

Are you diving into NaNoWriMo? What are you writing? Are you joining a group for support? Do you intend to tweet or blog about your progress? Will you share passages from your WIP to tempt your readers?

I don’t know if I will or if I won’t, tempt me with your plans both for and against.



One response to “To NaNo Or Not To NaNo

  • Kristen

    There’s something about NaNoWriMo that is like a train-wreck, I can’t look away, but I’m still terrified. Prose, particularly fiction, are not my primary forms. I’ve been dithering with an outline and a couple of sloppy chapters for a while. I need a shock to the system. The simple requirement of forward progress is tempting. No formal support group thus far, just a number of RL and online friends I feel comfortable with, if I decide to jump in. Assuming I do it, I’ll definitely tweet/blog. I’ll also post excerpts. If I do it, I do it. I’m not gonna be a candy-ass about people seeing it. I have entertained the possibility of abandoning all prior outlines and work, and at 12:01 am on 11/9/09, just saying, “GO!”

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