NaNoWriMo started yesterday. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, this is National Novel Writing Month. It’s 50,000 words in the shape of a novel in 30 days. I don’t remember how many years it’s been going on, but NaNo is ubiquitous on the internet these days. Are you writing? Do you think you’re going to finish? What are you writing? Are you planning beforehand or aren’t you? Did you (sotto voce) start early?
My answers, in order: Yes, yes, novel-shaped back story for the novel I need to revise starting in December, I know the general contours of things, and I did in fact start 500 words early. Mea maxima culpa.
Here are my thoughts going into it:
- Novels are hard to write. I usually start at the beginning and walk to the end. I’m not doing that this time. This time, I am writing the history of a character I know already in novel form. Because of this, I feel more free in my head to skip around in the timeline. It’s the nature of memory, to be scattered. I can put it into an order in the end, or perhaps I won’t. There’s no good way to tell.
- What I will have at the end is 50,000 words. That’s not technically long enough to be a novel by my lights. I’m not going to worry that it be a novel. Enough that it looks like one at first glance. That maybe some day when it grows up big and strong, it will be. But what goes on the page this time isn’t still going to be there when I revise. The beauty and the strangeness of NaNo is that the point is just to throw things down and see what sticks.
- I’m really looking forward to seeing what sticks.
So, good luck to all of us! And how fortunate for me that my writing addiction is so productive.