With NaNoWriMo being right around the corner I thought this would be the perfect book to review. November is National Novel Writing Month. It was started by Chris Baty in 1999. It started out as just a lark. He and 20 friends or so in the area that fancied themselves creative and they set off writing during the month of November.
In his book Chris states nothing helps a creative endeavor along better than a deadline. Starting with nothing at the beginning of November and ending with a 50,000 word novel is a lot of fun.
He chose the 50,000 word target through a very unscientific method. He grabbed up the smallest novel on his shelf, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and did a rough count. 50,000 words ends up being about 1,667 words per day. When you think about it, it’s not that much to do in a day.
My first few NaNoWriMos came with technical troubles. In the first one I wrote for about 7 days straight when I either copied over it or something happened with the hard drive. Either way, I was out 7 days worth of writing. I still managed to finish that year. The next year I wrote for about 10 days before hating it all and scraping it. I finished that year, too.
Writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is one of the cheapest and most satisfying creative projects I’ve done. I’ve written myself into a corner, much like painting yourself into one, and had to figure a way out. I plowed ahead and put the most bizarre characters and situations into the story to move past the dead end. It might not have been pretty or even cohesive, but it was a lot of fun.
This book is a quick read. He talks mostly about finding the time to write and getting inspiration from things around you.
Pros about this book:
- It is motivating. I didn’t think I could write a 50k word story, but I have now written quite a few.
- He gives pointers on how to find time and get friends to join in.
- It doesn’t really ‘teach’ you how to write.
- There are no grammar lectures, no research guides or plotting devices.
National Novel Writing Month is a great website. It’s designed for all ages. For the younger ones there are lesser word counts geared for different levels of children. There are forums to interact with people who are also doing the same crazy thing in November. There are chats in the forums about all the different genres. There are forums for specific geographical locations and often in those areas there are plans for get-togethers and little parties in public places.
Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Did you check out the site? What did you think?