National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
So, to recap:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.
Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.
What's the prize?
Nothing. Well... nothing except knowing that you've just written a first draft of a novel in one month, despite the odds being highly against you ever even finishing it. Less than 5% of people who start a novel ever finish it. (I'm not even talking publishing... FINISHING.) Even the NanoWriMo participants only have a 15% completion rate, and they're typically a bit more driven than your average HS girl writing a YA chick-lit.
That's the point of the month - it's a solid month of "omg must write faster!!!" that forces you into a deadline to get your writing done and gives you a little friendly challenge to get working on it.
As I posted in Team Chat on the Fudge site - I'm participating this year and will be cutting back my gaming substantially / completely (depends on how my progress goes - starting out without any gaming, and may add some if my pace is good.)
50,000 words is still a short novel, so I'm upping the ante a little. 75,000 words is my goal - 2,500 words per day. Sounds tough? NOT AT ALL. I decided to check out how many words I write in a given day on the Fudge, FnG, SA, and UODemise forums. I currently churn out about 5,200 words per day on average just BSing on random forums.
(As of the word "forums", this post (excluding the quote) was already 224 words long. This post took me about 3 minutes to type.)
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT... NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH. Anyone want to join in? If so, I'll start posting suggestions for how to get started based on having finished a novella, at least, and link to useful software for planning / outlining ahead of time (that's allowed - just no actually writing the real thing until Nov 1 ). If nobody's interested, I'll save my typing time and keep outlining the plot before November.
PS> There's one last little rule the Q/A forgot to mention: You not only have to hit 50,000 words by Nov 30, but you have to finish the novel also. A 50,000 word unfinished manuscript doesn't count. Start and End are necessary. Their word-counter won't know the difference (it's just a script), but you will... and that's really all that matters.
Anyone else in?