I can’t remember where I first heard about National Novel Writing Month … but I think my first reaction to it was “You’re kidding, right?” The goal, you see, is to write a full novel in a month (November): 50,000 words, or the equivalent of (I believe) a 175-page book. But it’s a fun website (the signup email subject line was “NaNoWriMo loves TMStewart” – aww), with a great sense of humor throughout, and there’s a massive forum with some really amazing discussions going on. And, after all, I can usually knock out a blog post of about 5,000 words (sorry about those); the magic number to reach 50k is 1666 a day. Three years ago I signed up – but between a horrendously slow internet connection and Mom’s broken hip I didn’t end up participating officially. I did take all of the notes for the book I’ve been working on since I was about sixteen, notes scattered hither and yon and chapter ideas and chapters written and rewritten and notebooks interleaved with a dozen other ideas … I took all of it and organized the heck out of it. It was awesome. (It was remarkable the amount I accomplished in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices and physical therapy facilities.)
I don’t know why I didn’t play last year; beaten down by the job, maybe (who knew?), or simply forgot. This year I was wandering about the world-building sites, and landed on the site of Holly Lisle. She’s a fantasy writer who’s produced quite a body of work; I haven’t read so much by her, but I’ve liked what I read, and regardless she has a lot of good stuff to say on the site. And she started a forum for writers called Forward Motion, which is quite nice – and that reminded me of NaNo.
This is going to be fun. What I really, really want to do is take the book I whipped into some sort of shape three years ago which, yes, I’m still working on … It doesn’t seem to be against the rules – which are, after all, based on the honor system – for me to use what I’ve got as a base, draw a line, and count all new words from midnight 10/31 through midnight 11/30 as towards my 50K. I would dearly love to finish this book, at least in rough form, by the end of the year…
Then again, I could also start work on one of the two related books I’m planning. Or … I do have a list of other ideas in various stages of development, from ideas (a novel exploring they whys and wherefores of Benedict Arnold, who was a pharmacist and bookseller right in New Haven at one point, and who, really, had his reasons) to outlines (the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast stripped down and inverted, with a female Beast and a male stand-in for Beauty (who will not be named Beau)) to a few chapters knocked out (a story semi-related to the sorta-trilogy, long before them when things were more peaceful).
Oh, for the time to do ’em all.
Meantime, November is coming – and I’m really, really looking forward to this. There are 80 people signed up in NaNo’s Shoreline Connecticut region, and that’s only so far; evidently during the rest of this month and most especially next month there are events online and in person. And while I am maintaining a level of cynicism about the whole thing after my experiences at the Board Which Shall Remain Nameless … still? I want this to be as much fun as I think it can be.
And in a few weeks I think this will be me: