Monday, November 3, 2008

NaNoWriMo

I'm not sure how I feel about this. What's your take?

61 comments:

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

Laaaaaaaaame.

I first heard about it on Authonomy so I went over to check out the website. I am sure it's all fun for some writers, but I cannot be arsed to write a whole book in one month. I am a perfectionist, and I NEED my book to be a masterpiece, so it'll take me a year or so to write it before I feel secure enough to show it to anybody else.

I seriously feel suicidal if people peek at my unfinished stuff.

but I think it is a cool website that ENCOURAGES people to write, but I don't think it should be taken seriously

that is my opinion so if anybody feels offended, sue me

Sarabeth said...

It's a good carrot when you have an idea. It's not so great if you are searching for one.

Somewhere In Between said...

I'm a little on the indecisive side on this, as well. Initially, it was something I wanted to work toward for next year; but then I sat down and really thought hard about it. Do I want to work feverishly on a novel, simply because it is National Novel Writing Month, and write merely to take part in it? Or, would I rather take my time, work at my own pace, and be sure to write the best novel I can, in my own time frame? I'll have to say, it is quite an enticing challenge!! For now, I'll stick with NaBloPoMo!

Sina'i said...

As an unpublished author still working on her manuscript (and having hit writer's block for three years), I'm using the energy of NaNoWriMo to finish it once and for all, so I can start editing it and making it great.

While it's true that I can (and probably do) come out with a lot of crap during the month of November, I've found that the energy of NaNoWriMo, of making the commitment to write every day for a month, has gotten me much further in my manuscripts than any other time I've tried. Maybe it's because you can see all of your friends trying for the same goal. Maybe it's because it gives you a set number of words to reach each day, instead of you trying to figure it out for yourself and coming up with a number you think is too high and unrealistic, or too low. Either way, it gives me a valid reason to put away the inner editor, and just get the words out.

Travis Erwin said...

I for one, prefer to institute my own unobtainable deadlines.

Karen K. Kennedy said...

I'd heard about it for several years and couldn't imagine doing it. But this year, I found I had an idea for a new novel and thought this might kick-start it for me.

I don't expect perfection in one month, and don't think most people who are participating in this do, or a completely finished novel in 50,000 words, but so far it's gotten my butt in the seat for last three days. Can that be a bad thing?

Dharma Kelleher said...

Hey trash punk! I can appreciate your feelings on the subject. And love the hair! Awesome!

Personally, I enjoy the challenge of NaNoWriMo. And of course, the first draft is going to be complete crap. But that's the nature of first drafts, NaNoWriMo or not.

The other thing I like about it is that it spurs me to take chances I might not otherwise attempt. NaNoWriMo encourages me to temporarily shut down the auto-editor in my head, allowing me to experiment and make mistakes, but possibly come up with some gems, too.

Liz said...

I think the heart of NaNoWriMo is in the right place. But I also think it's easy for those participating to get caught up in the excitement of "write badly and fix it later" that they forget the "fix it later" part.

What I like about NaNoWriMo is that it encourages people to write, and that's never a bad thing. But on the flip side, it also implies the work is "finished" after thirty days. It's the equivalent of starving yourself for a month to lose weight, and then being disappointed (and shocked) to learn all that weight you lost was just water and muscle, and you'll gain it all back the moment you start eating again. In other words, not half as productive as it looks on the outside.

So I understand the ambivalence. Writing a book in a month? Good idea. Submitting that book to agents, publishers, vanity presses on December 1st? Bad idea.

I guess what it boils down to is how participants look at it and what they hope to gain from the experience.

Jaye Wells said...

I don't know why people are so negative about it. Sure, very few people on earth can produce a good or even fair novel in thirty days. But it's a great way to get people in the habit of writing daily.

I'm using Nano as a way to get started on a novel that's due next summer. Of course, I also understand that this draft will include a lot of throat clearing and will be nowhere near ready for public consumption.

So my verdict is it's a good thing, as long as people's expectations are realistic.

D. Robert Pease said...

This will be my first year participating in NaNoWriMo. For someone that has realistic expectations of what the end product will be (crap) I think it is a great idea. The strongest argument I can make for it is, it hopefully teaches writers to write. Not how to write quality, but how to sit your butt in the seat and write, even when you don't feel like it. If anyone wants to some day be a successful writer, they will need to learn this skill. It won't teach you anything about craft, anything about plotting, but it can teach you discipline. In my book that can't be a bad thing.

I have been talking with a friend of my son who wants to be a professional writer. I've been enchoraging her to try NaNo. But she just doesn't think she'll be able to write that much. I try to tell her to look at it as training for her career. If she wants to write professionally, as with any other job, she will some day be spending several hours, every day at it.

But as I've heard many literary agents say, "Please don't mail your NaNo MS off in December!"

Dana said...

I think it's a good thing as well. Though I don't expect my novel to be any kind of good by the end of November, I'm at least working on it. I've been procrastinating quite well for a while and it's nice to have something to encourage me and bring out my competitive side. I hope to just get some sort of a first draft done and then worry about editing and revising for the rest of the year. :)

nomadshan said...

Love it. I think it's a great way to begin a 1st draft. No reasonable participant is going to think their draft's ready to shop December 1, just as no writer working on an expanded time frame would think their 1st draft was publishable.

I imagine you can spot the delusional ones by their query letters (or lack thereof).

Ryan Field said...

I think it's like chicken soup: couldn't hurt, might help.

Tannat Madiran said...

I like the more intelligent of the posts here. NaNoWriMo is just a piece of the puzzle. And while the perfectionists among us cringe at the idea, you can’t deny Tom Spanbauer who tells us all that you have to go through that first painful process of “shitting the lump.”
If there isn’t anything to start with, then there isn’t anywhere to go. You know, chip away what isn’t David? Will you have anything remotely resembling a finished work? No, even the founder of NaNoWriMo tells you that. Many who participate call December NaNoEdMo, because now you have to go back and clean all that up.
But there is a large portion of the population that needs to be surrounded by likeminded people with a similar goal to encourage (either directly or through the spirit of competition) them to reach their goal, even if the 50k word count only accounts for half of the finished product.
It is the same psychology behind why runners and cyclists and such always go faster in a pack (regardless of aerodynamic advantage in the case of cyclists) than solo. There’s a ton of psychology at work.
And yes, the output could be likened to the 20 minute meals that Rachael Ray has made a career out of, versus any higher gastronomical achievements, but even the elite foodies have to concede that RR has her place because she motivated a whole lot of people to cook that never did.
I think it’s a good thing anytime more people are motivated to attempt their dream. Yeah there’s gonna be some literary abortions being penned, and that’s okay, that’s what the naysayers want to see, it keeps them calm. But there might be some gold out there, and I think that is awesome. Do you know how much earth you have to move before you find a single gemstone quality diamond worth cutting and polishing?

Crimogenic said...

I'm running away from NaNoWriMo, maybe I'm chicken or something, but I can't write with good conscious without any concern for quality.

Kristi said...

I work better under a deadline.

Last year, I did NaNo for the first time to write my first attempt at a novel. I'd been wavering for a really really really long time about actually putting fingers to keyboard.

I completed 50,000 words. About 25,000 of it survived in what is now an 80,000 word (and somewhat revised) manuscript.

I'm definitely trying it again. I've been wavering again in my drive to actually sit and write some of the stories floating through my head. Therefore, I needed another deadline.

Jaye Wells said...

The other side of this coin is that the 1667 words a day you have to keep up isn't really that many pages. For fast writers four single-spaced pages a day is totally doable. Good practice for anyone aspiring to write full time.

Tannat Madiran said...

crimo:

You can't write 1666 words a day (3 pages?)without concern for quality?

What people fail to realize is that 50k words is nothing. Anyone who writes for a living will tell you that. It sounds like a lot, but when you think in terms of rough draft (which is essentially what NaNoWriMo is, a rough draft generator, nowhere does it say you will have a polished, finished, and publishable piece of work in 30 days), it really isn't.

Don't be afraid, cut back on the TV or whatever else is taking an hour of your time each day. Hammer out a few words on the subway. Go to bed a half alter, wake up a half hour earlier. I dunno.

It isn't the Mount Everest of Crap people make it out to be.

Kalika said...

I'm not sure you should have an opinion. It's not your job to tell us how we can or can't write our novels. I like bashing out a new draft every November. Then I can decide if the story has potential and should go into editing for the next 11 months.

-Kelly Meding said...

As others have said, I like the theory of NaNo. It gets people into the habit of writing daily, and for some, helps them turn off the "Inner Editor."

I've unofficially done NaNo in the past, and I'll cheer on anyone who attempts it. It's not always about the finished product, it's about the journey toward it.

Jonathan Lyons said...

Um, I can have an opinion.

Cheryl said...

One thing to remember about NaNoWriMo (which I've participated in for five years now) is that most of the people doing it aren't taking seriously.

They're hobbiests, like people who craft or play guitar for themselves and their friends, with no interest in going professional or making money.

Of the thirty or so people I NaNo with regularly, only four or five have any ambition to be published; the rest are programmers and academics and salespeople who take one month a year to do something they wouldn't otherwise do.

Those of us who do want to be published some day use NaNo to kick off a novel that we work on solidly for the rest of the year.

As someone who had a bad habit of writing three chapters and then rewriting the same three chapters over and over again looking for the perfect voice or point of view or whatever, I really needed NaNo to help me learn to move forward.

December/Stacia said...

Blah. I think it encourages bad writing habits, feeds misinformation (50k words is NOT a novel), and leads people to think they need a reason or an event or people standing behind them cheering them on in order to write--encourages them to expect those cheerleaders, in fact.

It's not the worst thing in the world, but I generally just think it's silly.

philologia said...

As a thinking, breathing human being, you'd better have an opinion!

NaNo is a tool. It encourages people to write, when many of us (like Cheryl) tend to edit instead of moving forward. Once you have that rough draft, or at least part of one, you have the momentum to keep going.

For beginners, NaNo is a way to be encouraged by a community of writers to just put words on paper. It's an anti-procrastination society, a support group. Yes, the result is crappy, but that's better than NO results at all!
For non-beginners, it's a goal set by somebody else--something to work towards, motivation. It's nice to be a part of something, you know?

NaNo makes it pretty clear you won't have a finished product come December. First off, if you follow their guidelines it's totally unedited. Second off, unless you had part of a novel in advance, it's only 50,000 words! For most books, that's nowhere near the finish line.

I'm in favor of NaNo. What I'm not in favor of is dimwits thinking they'll be Mark Twain come December 1st.

davidf said...

Great question, but I'm giving NaNoWriMo a thumbs down. I've got a poll up at my blog if anyone cares to vote -- or put one up yourself, Jonathan. I'd love to see how this shakes out on a percentage basis!

http://stormofthenorth.wordpress.com

Blogagaard said...

One of the hardest parts of writing a novel for me is giving your subconscious enough time to sift through the story as you go along. I write five pages a day (around 1,300 words), give or take a few off days, and sometimes I feel as if I need to slow down just to let my subconscious separate the good stuff from the bad, especially plot-wise.

I think the contest is good for beginning writers because it can show them you can pound out a rough draft, though I worry it might encourage bad habits like too much space filling dialogue and unnecessary scenes. I'd be interested in a contest where writers EDITED someone elses book in a month and turned in the results.

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

Honestly, I think that we don't need to encourage more people to write...we need to encourage more people to READ. So why not NaNoBuyMo?? Everybody buy a book a day for the month of November.

I truly believe one of the problems facing this industry - in addition to all the usual suspects - is that far too many people who probably shouldn't spend most of their spare time writing, instead of reading. Perhaps this is not a popular opinion, but it's mine.

Bottom line? We need more readers. Not more writers.

Brian Jay Jones said...

I'm not a novelist per se, so I've always excused myself from participating in NaNoWriMo. But I don't think I could do it anyway -- while I appreciate the discipline e of writing a certain number of words or pages every day in order to meet the imposed deadline, I don't think I would find it conducive to my particular work habits. It's a bit too much like trying to do a quick change through hundreds of different outfits -- and then when the whistle blows, finding you're still standing there in the Little Boy Blue costume. It might be progress, but it's not really where I intended to be, and it's horribly embarassing, but you didn't give me time to change into something else.

Something like that. That's probably the oddest metaphor I think I've ever used.

Jael said...

NaNoWriMo: if you have trouble either a) motivating yourself to write or b) pounding out a first draft without letting your inner editor paralyze you, it is a great way to get out a first draft.

It isn't a good way to write a finished novel. It doesn't produce something agent- or editor-ready. It can backfire.

If you go into it understanding all that, it can be awesome and fun and wonderful.

chris said...

STUPID.

If you want to write a novel, then write one. Any time, any day. Don't just pick an arbitrary span of 30 days and then cram a whole book into it, creating a rushed piece of junk that will need extensive revisions.

Crimogenic said...

Tannat Madiran,

I get your point, but for me it's not about not being able to pound out a draft rough (or 50,000 words) in a month. As others have said, it's a tool but maybe for those would need motivation to start a novel. I don't see that I need to force out a terrible rough draft in a month. What's the purpose?

I'm writing my second novel now. With my first novel, I took the approach of writing the whole thing first and then going through several times to do massive edits/ re-writes but with that being said, I took the time during writing to think over scenes before I wrote them, build characters in my mind, think of plot, etc. I wouldn't have the time to do that if all I'm doing is writing straight without "thinking" through the novel when I needed to.

Melanie Avila said...

I'm doing it this year but I planned ahead so my outline and idea where ready on Nov 1st. Like a lot of people here have already said, no one expects the first draft to be polished, plus it's a good kick in the pants for people who tend to procrastinate.

I've already broken the "rules" and done a little editing but the spirit of the competition definitely helps me. There isn't a writing community where I live (Tourist Town, Mexico) so sharing this experience with other writers is - dare I say it - fun. ;)

Heidi the Hick said...

HOw many times have you had a conversation with someone who said,

"I'd really like to write a novel some day but I just don't have time."

"My novel is coming along great. I've rewritten the first ten pages about twenty times now and it's really um, great."

"Writing a novel must be so easy. Anybody could do it."

"My book? Yeah I'm gonna finish it. I"m just taking my time because I want it to be good. I don't think ten years is too long."

"I'm not gonna start writing until I know exactly how to do it."

"It's all in my head, I just have to write it down."

The point of this silly exercise - and let's face it, it's kinda silly - is to encourage people to SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN AND WRITE. Shut your face, move your fingers.

I did it three years ago and the result was unpublishable crap, but I didn't care. At that point in my life I just needed to know that I could still do it, despite the anti depressants and therapy and self doubt. I needed to know it was still in me, just the necessary commitment to write every day.

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

hi Mr. Lyons

what is YOUR opinion now that you've heard what we all had to say?

:-P

Josephine Damian said...

IMO, if people can't write w/o group help or enforced deadlines, then how are they going to manage to write the other 11 months a year?

All you agents are going to be buried with "finished" NaNo novels come 12/1, I'm afraid.

Josephine Damian said...

I think December/Stacia is my new favorite person...

Lee said...

I know this sounds terrible, but doesn't NaNo work against my self-interest as a writer capable of finishing books without it? More finished novels = more competition for limited publishing slots. Even if those novels aren't very good, they mean more submissions for editors and agents, higher slush piles, and fewer seconds spent on each query.

I'm not really this selfish, and I encourage people who are trying to finish their work, but it puzzles me that no one here has mentioned the Darwinian angle to this. Unpublished authors are in direct competition with each other. Why would you go out of your way to encourage more people to apply for a job you want?

Lorrie said...

Good heavens, hasn't fiction been devalued enough in the publishing world? Do we need anyone advancing the idea that a one-month novel is a worthwhile goal in (a writing) life? Or to put it another way, speaking as a writer and editor, don't bother to show me a novel that took a month to write.

Justus said...

I feel beyond needing "NaNoWriMo" to write a novel, but I think it stands for something more: powerful ambition.

Even though I've completed my first novel, and was 20k words into my second novel at the start of November, I'm impressed by the air of fanaticism. I've increased my daily word quota because I don't want to miss the wave of enthusiasm sweeping throughout the ranks of writers.

Nevertheless, I'm taking it slow enough that my first draft will be pleasing to the eye.

november/tracia said...

There are some fairly serious writers out there who believe it's much better to keep a novel well between 40 and 60 thousands words these days. Many good e-publishers keep it at 50 thousand, period.

While NaNoWriMo may not produce the best literary novels of our time, it's not a bad project to practice word economy and all that other good stuff editors are looking for nowadays.

Redzilla said...

I'm trying to promote NaNoBuyMo. If everybody who wanted to write novels would go buy a few...

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

It's a great way to teach yourself discipline, to schedule time to write, to break through the walls of the dreaded GMC.

You can always spruce it up later. The point is, you have something to work with. You have a bunch of cheerleaders behind you.

I had a personal NaNoWriMo in place due to a deadline, but personal circumstances led me to ask for an extension.

Still, I managed a great head start.

Anonymous said...

To the Negative Nancys (or are they Nancies?):

I seriously do NOT understand the massive amounts of scorn for NaNoWriMo. People who write crap and don't edit it are going to be thrown out of the slush pile anyway, regardless of when they write that crap. Why harsh on someone else's methodology? Some people need to silence the inner editor once in a while.

I've talked to dozens of people who've done NaNoWriMo. At least two of them are now published authors (yes, their first rough drafts were from November marathons). They knew perfectly well that what came out wasn't ready for submission. People who think they can write a finished manuscript in a month without revision and then submit it aren't sane the *other* eleven months, either.

If it's not your thing, fine. But don't go around deriding people for their hobbies or methods. Geez. *eyeroll*

Adaora A. said...

I'd pull my hair out doing such a thing. ONE MONTH? I couldn't be able to stand it. It's been running for some years now (or is it other versions of the same idea), but It's great that you brought it up; I've always wondered what an agent thought about cases such as these.

December/Stacia said...

Thank you, Josephine! *blush*

And, um...thank you, november/tracia? I can only assume you were attempting a sweet, light-hearted joke, and not some sort of creepy and obscure dig, as if I were the only person in this thread who expressed an opinion that was negative toward NaNo.

Yes, lots of epublishers consider 50k words to be a novel; as I have quite a few epublishing credits, I'm well aware of this. But most people out there in the big wide world who are doing NaNo are not aiming for ehouses, as evinced by the enormous jump in queries agents and publishers report in December.

December/Stacia said...

Oh, and I have no idea who these "fairly serious writers" are who prefer to keep their novels between 40 and 60k, as every major house save Harlequin lists minimum word count at around 75k. Not that Harlequin isn't serious, but I don't see too many non-HQN books being sold or published that fall much under 75k. In fact, save YA I can't think of any recent ones.

Julie Weathers said...

To me, the heart of the matter is getting people to make a commitment to themselves to write. I've written the bones of a novel in a month and it's good enough to hang a decent story on when I go back to it.

For now, I am using Nano in the reverse. I need to get mine down to 135,000 or below so the goal is to get that done this month.

If it weren't for needing to get this done, I would be doing it.

Jonathan,

Um, I can have an opinion.

Yes, you can. Now, I would like your opinion on something really important.

Beef or chicken fajitas?

Josephine Damian said...

BJJ: This is why you're one of my favorite modern writers. Beautiful and articulate way to explain why NaNo flies in the face of the quality- producing creative process (as opposed to quantity production).

"It's a bit too much like trying to do a quick change through hundreds of different outfits -- and then when the whistle blows, finding you're still standing there in the Little Boy Blue costume."

I'm still waiting for both you and Jonathan to join Jaye and me on Twitter.

Josephine Damian said...

BJJ: This is why you're one of my favorite modern writers. Beautiful and articulate way to explain why NaNo flies in the face of the quality- producing creative process (as opposed to quantity production).

"It's a bit too much like trying to do a quick change through hundreds of different outfits -- and then when the whistle blows, finding you're still standing there in the Little Boy Blue costume."

I'm still waiting for both you and Jonathan to join Jaye and me on Twitter.

november/tracia said...

December/Stacia said...
"Oh, and I have no idea who these "fairly serious writers" are who prefer to keep their novels between 40 and 60k..."

Nicholas Sparks. I think I'd consider him a fairly serious writer. Below is a quote taken from his web site. It's a direct quote, and there's even more about novel length there.

"Books that are too long are the sign of laziness by the writer and also imply an arrogance of sorts, one that essentially says to the reader, "I'm the author here and I know what I'm doing, and if you don't like it, then that says more about you than me, and we both know which one of us is smarter." Not so. Who, after all, would have seen the movie Jurassic Park if the length of the movie was six hours? As much as dinosaurs are interesting and exciting, enough is enough sometimes. Why are so many books too long these days? Because being efficient is difficult and often time-consuming."

Julie Weathers said...

Oh, and I have no idea who these "fairly serious writers" are who prefer to keep their novels between 40 and 60k, as every major house save Harlequin lists minimum word count at around 75k. Not that Harlequin isn't serious, but I don't see too many non-HQN books being sold or published that fall much under 75k. In fact, save YA I can't think of any recent ones.

Bridges Of Madison County and The Christmas Box were both fairly successful, though not recent. I admit they are not the norm.

I think it depends on how you write.

I have, before, penned out something fairly quickly and then gone back to add the flesh to the bones once I have the story down. There are many different ways to write and no one style is perfect.

Diana Gabaldon chooses each word very carefully before she moves on. Not every writer is that precise and it would drive me nuts. I have to write it down while the movie is playing in my head and go back later to clean it up.

"Books that are too long are the sign of laziness by the writer and also imply an arrogance of sorts,"

I suppose that's one opinion, but I love Gabaldon, George R.R. Martic and Jack Whyte. Jurassic Park was a fascinating book. One reason I adored Crichton was his attention to detail.

Someone must enjoy these longer books or they wouldn't continue to hit the best seller lists.

Sarahlynn said...

I love NaNoWriMo. I've been writing short stories and outlining novels most of my life. But for many years, I was afraid to start writing an actual novel. It's something I'd wanted to do for so long; I was petrified by fear of failure.

By the end of this year, I'll have written three novels in the last 13 months. I plan to spend 2009 rewriting.

My first draft of a novel-length manuscript was from NaNoWriMo last year. I needed the permission to write fast, not edit, not worry too much about whether or not it was any good, just write.

And now that I've done it once, I'm able to do it again. I wrote a novel (a 50,000 word rough first draft with a big hole in the last third) last November. I'm writing a MG novel this November. And in between, I've spent 10 months working at a much slower, more deliberate pace on a novel that will need much less rewriting than the other two when I get back to it next year.

I think it works for some folks, not for others. I'm like a lot of other writers I know who have been working on an idea for a long time, refining it, playing with phrases, improving my writing (writing daily, participating in writers' groups, taking workshops, READING). And then I just needed a big PUSH from NaNo: a goal, a virtual community.

It was a heck of a lot cheaper than an MFA.

December/Stacia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben-M said...

Just remember it's not Publishable Novel Writing Month folks, so comparisons with nanowrimo entertainment and the standards of the professional publishing industry seem a little misguided.

From browsing their forums I'd have to guess that a large majority of participants are aged 18 or under, which says to me it's mostly an educational exercise. I'm all for education at all ages - I like the idea of there being some good new writers to sample when I retire.

That people might get a little more respect for just how much effort is involved in part of an author's creative process is just an extra bonus.

Marilyn Peake said...

I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo. It might be helpful if an author needs a push to set pen to paper, fingers to the keyboard, a way of getting unstuck to write. If it means rushing a novel simply in order to meet a one-month deadline, though, it wouldn’t be worth it to me. I’m on page 160 of a new novel I’m writing, and find I need complete concentration, no rush, to get the words sounding just right. On the other hand, Cormac McCarthy thought about The Road for a year but wrote it in three weeks, and – wow! – what a book!

lucyp said...

I can understand not feeling NaNoWriMo is for you, but I have been really surprised to read the hostility towards it in this thread. I was writing a longer comment, but it was getting long, so I just posted it on my own blog.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE NaNoWriMo.

Some years, it's not doable for me, but last year, it was.

And then...

I have spent the last 12 months since, polishing, rewriting, editing, re-editing...

It has been my year+ project.

And out of three novels I have written, this was the most fun.

And maybe now, after this current edit, I will be ready to begin to submit to folks like you.

I can only cross my fingers that this project is going to have wings of its own too.

It has certainly given me a fresh new persepective.

Just_Me said...

Love it! Even if I don't finish a novel in 50k, both times I've done Nano or Nano-like projects I've wound up over the 50k park by a healthy chunk.

There is nothing wrong with writing a rough draft in a month. It isn't an insane goal if you already write daily. And it's a good way to get the ideas on paper and not stress about the elusive perfect first draft.

Robin S. said...

Wow. This is one helluva long comment trail. A good friend of mine suggested I pop over and check this out. Positive or negative, this has brought out some strong opinions, hasn't it?

I'm about a 500 word a day person, as I prefer to craft as I go - that doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else - it simply makes me me, and that means this month-long writing idea isn't my cup of tea - but I don't see anything wrong with it for those who enjoy the structure and the process (and the extended group-hug part as well).

As for the stats on non-readers, and how we should be plugging a NaNo-Buy-Mo (so to speak) - that sounds like a great idea - but do the two Mo things have to be mutually exclusive?

And as for novel length, I don't believe there is a 'best length' - I think that's more than a bit silly, frankly, though I do believe there is a best length for each book.

Dope was a wonderful novel. Short as hell. Middlesex was much longer (and took a damn long time to write, from what I've read) - and it is breathtakingly well done. Both worthy reads.

Hi Brian, by the way. (Loved your little guy in blue pants metaphor.) I enjoyed your time on BookRoast - and I now have your book at home. Looks very good. I'm looking forward to reading it in a few weeks.

Jonathan - are you ever gonna say what you think, or did I miss it?

Dara said...

I realize this is a month late, however, I love NaNo. It helped give me the discipline to sit and write. Before, I'd never get past the first three chapters because I was such a perfectionist and kept listening to my inner editor. I would constantly be rewriting the first chapters that I'd never progress. Then I would get all discouraged about it. It was a viscious cycle.

It allowed me to get most of the book written (I still have a little less than 1/3 to go). I know it's going to require a great deal of editing and researching but at least the main story is there--never something I was able to achieve before.

NaNo isn't for everyone; some think it's a waste of time and only "amateurs" take part. That may be true, but there are also many who aren't and who do take writing seriously. There's also a number of books that were written during NaNo that were picked up by publishing houses and became a success--the most notable is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. True, it's a very small percentage, but it's still a percentage :) And I hope to be a part of that in the next year or so :)

Basically, it all depends on the writer really. I've had some "writers" tell me it's ridiculous and I'm not a true writer because I take part in it, but that to me is just elitism--especially when they are writers who haven't had a thing of theirs finished or published.

Dara said...

I realize this is a month late, however, I love NaNo. It helped give me the discipline to sit and write. Before, I'd never get past the first three chapters because I was such a perfectionist and kept listening to my inner editor. I would constantly be rewriting the first chapters that I'd never progress. Then I would get all discouraged about it. It was a vicious cycle.

It allowed me to get most of the book written (I still have a little less than 1/3 to go). I know it's going to require a great deal of editing and researching over the next year or more but at least the main story is there--never something I was able to achieve before.

NaNo isn't for everyone; some think it's a waste of time and only "amateurs" take part. That may be true, but there are also many who aren't and who do take writing seriously. There's also a number of books that were written during NaNo that were picked up by publishing houses and became a success--the most notable is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. True, it's a very small percentage, but it's still a percentage :) And I hope to be a part of that in the next year or so :)

Basically, it all depends on the writer really. I've had some "writers" tell me it's ridiculous and I'm not a true writer because I take part in it, but that to me is just elitism--especially when they are writers who haven't had a thing of theirs finished or published.