National Novel Writing Month – or NaNoWriMo for short – is a time of year when upwards of 300,000 people across the globe attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, over the calendar month of November.
Like all the best love stories, it’s an insane idea, simultaneously riddled with genius.
Why’s that, I hear you not asking at all?
Well, because for people who have never written a full novel before, it makes a seemingly impossible goal possible, because it only asks you to commit for 30 days. And at the end of it, you just might wind up with your first, real, incontrovertible novel. Which is a major achievement.
For people who have either written novels before, or have attempted to and failed, it’s even better. Because it creates a parallel universe where, for 30 days, you are forced to step out of your comfort zone and change the way you write.
Which for an awful lot of us, is a good thing.
Diary Of A Writer (When It’s Not NaNoWriMo)
Day 1: A good start! Glad I took the week off work. Helps to get as much down as possible before all the new story momentum is lost. Chapter 1 of The Blood Count of Pudding Country is some of my best work ever. Love my 2 main characters, Count Van Carbunkle and Veronda McWuggin. Introducing McWuggin at a Sausage Festival deftly gets across both her child-like delight of finger-food, and her thirst for blood, I think.
Day 7: Not bad to have 5 chapters done already, considering that I broke off on Day 4 to watch 3 box sets on Netflix.
Day 15: Relieved. Finally worked out that the reason Count Van Carbunkle fails to trap Veronda in the meat blender is because of the bad experience he had with sausage and parsnip purée as a boy. Phew! Could have had a gaping plot hole there.
Day 41: Had to completely rewrite the first 10,000 words to move the action from Ireland to the UK.
Day 73: Haven’t touched the novel since the day I realised that Count Van Carbunkle should have been a woman.
Day 185: Right. Have now completely re-written the first 30,000 words with the Countess Van Carbunkle; made it a romantic comedy instead of a crime thriller; and changed location from Dorset to Siberia. It feels a lot better, but still a bit worried about Veronda McWuggins’ double limp. May still need to rewrite her as a champion show-jumper. Anyhoo, have to keep the momentum going now.
Day 305: Completely rewrote the first 30,000 words again.
Day 310: This book is shit. Everything is shit.
Day 437: A good start! Glad I took the week off work. Helps to get as much down as possible before the new story momentum is lost. Chapter 1 of Potato Blight Killers And The Time Travelling Milkmaid is some of my best work ever.
Diary Of A Writer (When It Is NaNoWriMo)
Day 1: Why am I doing this? This is the most idiotic idea I’ve ever had. Whatever I write will be shit. Can’t believe I signed up for this.
Day 2: Relieved that one half of one paragraph in Chapter 2 of Untitled might not actually be shit. Given the circumstances, not a bad achievement really.
Day 5: Where in the name of Blog did that character come out of? Never even dreamed of a martial-arts knitting expert before they landed on the page. Having said that, am quite taken with her, so will keep her.
Day 6: I’m dumping my original main character for being stupid and annoying. Martial arts knitters are the way forward.
Day 15: You expect me to update a stupid diary? I haven’t got time for this, feck off
Day 19: That scene was bloody good fun to write
Day 27: Ok, so that was hard. Major fail, not writing for 3 days. Had to do 5,000 words today, which was horrible. Violently hate some of what I’ve written. But at least I’m back on track.
Day 30: I DID IT! 50,231 words! This is the best feeling ever! Even if the whole thing is unusable! So glad to have got that idea finished, and on paper. This is like free drugs! Woohoo!! PARTY TIME!!
Day 72: Holy crap. Just re-read my NaNoWriMo novel. And at least three-quarters of what I wrote in November is actually not shit! And the story arc isn’t too shabby either. So glad I made that snap decision to kill off my first main character. A surprisingly decent novel starts after he’s gone. So proud of myself!
So there you go. There are 30 reasons to do NaNoWriMo in there somewhere. Sorry for the swearing but I haven’t the time to be an upstanding member of the community. I’m off now to do my 1,667 words. Or thereabouts…