The End of the "One Day" Novelist
October 23, 2013
Are you tired of being a One Day Novelist, as in “One day I’ll write a novel”? If you have always considered writing a book, November is the month for you. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the endeavor where each participant cranks out 50,000 words of fiction in just 30 days.
Now, just what is this crazy novel-in-a-month idea all about? Well, for starters, it’s not about fine craft. Elegant, perfect writing comes in the revision stage. NaNoWriMo is about generating content, cranking out the explosive raw material that can later be polished into a true work of art worthy of being placed onto a pedestal and admired (or perhaps into a book and read). Forcing yourself to write 50,000 words in only 30 days forces you to use those brain abilities that so often go neglected: creativity and imagination. It may sound crazy, but you know what? Crazy can be a glorious thing.
If you’re new to NaNoWriMo, head on over to the NaNoWriMo homepage to login, and let the world (or at least a part of the Internet) know that you are taking the literary plunge to write the Great Frantic Novel. Aside from amazing creativity and passion, the best thing about NaNoWriMo is the company. When you sign up to write a novel this month, you also get to be included on a whirlwind of inspiration. You can talk to other Wrimos (NaNoWriMo participants) online to pass ideas back and forth, ask for plot help, or find out where the best coffee in town is. The great folks at NaNoWriMo Headquarters will also send you occasional emails during the month from successful published authors who offer you their very own encouragement and (at times) solace during the adventure of writing. Previous pep talkers (as they are known) include Piers Anthony, Audrey Niffenegger, Sara Gruen, Gennifer Albin, and many more.
But that’s not all! Your library wants to help you write your novel. You might not believe it, but we love books around here, and there are a number of things we are doing to help you write yours. Here are the two main things:
First, we are providing write-ins at many of our branches. Now, we hope that you will come into any or all of our branches to write your Verbal Adventure, but some our branches are hosting additional activities to spur you on to success. Some locations are providing encouraging spaces with writing supplies. Other branches are hosting gatherings where you can get together with other Wrimos and really let the words fly. At write-ins, we’re all about the word count, but we have fun too. We often do word sprints to see how many words each of us can write in; say, ten minutes. Some write-ins are open for everyone, but others are directed more toward certain age groups, such as teens. So when you check the listings, remember to look at the age group.
Second, we provide parties—Kick-Off Parties. At a Kick-Off Party, new Wrimos and seasoned Wrimos join together to celebrate and prepare for the upcoming challenge. We offer an introduction to just what Nanowrimo is and how the month will go, and then we try to get ready. Some branches hand out supplies that can be used in the case of a noveling emergency or a list of helpful websites for things like naming characters, describing emotions, or finding details about forensic pathology. You know, whatever. And in December, we host some sessions to help you decide what to do next with your novel and your newfound identity as a novelist.
If you’ve read this far and haven’t run off screaming (or if you ran off screaming but have managed to come back), chances are, you’re a Wrimo (whether you know it or not). So, head on over to the Nanowrimo website, and see more of what it’s all about. And then come on back and have a look at the MCPL NaNoWriMo events to see which sessions would work best for you.
Don’t be mistaken—writing 50,000 words in one month is not for the faint of heart. It is truly a crazy endeavor. But it is also over-the-top worth it. I look forward to seeing you in Nano Land.
Brian M./ wildcaard