Sunday, October 27, 2013

To NaNo or Not To Nano

Well here it is, the tail end of October, and here I am, staring down NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated -- when thousands of would-be* novelists commit to turning out the first draft of an entire novel.

Yes, thousands.  More than 150,000 are signed up on the official website.  And a bunch of us participate under the radar, too.  And there's even a Young Writers program that encourages 16 year olds to eschew A.P. Bio homework in favor of The Greater Good.  The NaNo motto, after all, is "The world needs your novel."

I think that NaNo purists actually start their novels on Nov. 1, but I am staring down a partial novel, and my thought is, let's do this thing! (With a gung-ho all-American "yee-ha!" plus a nod to all the chocolate chip ice cream this is going to entail.  Note that NaNo is not a slimming experience.)  Or not.

Here's the thing: I already have a way that I write novels, and having been raised as a somewhat superstitious person (somewhat? my grandma tied red ribbons on me to ward off the Evil Eye) I'm terrified to screw with it.  I mean, I tried NaNo once and I ended up with a bunch of prose that I was hugely excited about.  Until I had time to read it.

On the other hand, my way of writing novels involves rereading pretty much everything I've written daily before I write new stuff.  It involves putting my hands over my ears and going "neeeny-neeny-neeny" whenever anyone utters the word "outline."  It involves coming up with new and improved ways to tell the story up until moments before the book is printed.

There has to be a better way.

So all right, I'm spending every weekend in November other than Thanksgiving on the road at book festivals.  All right, so I can't finish the thing until I've talked with a hacker, a private detective, and someone driven out of Homeland Security due to a propensity to spill state secrets to eager YA writers.  All right, so hope springs eternal, and that spring does not feed the water park at the corner of Realistic and Sensible.

But the idea of having an entire draft finished by the end of November is just so appealing.

To NaNo or not to NaNo, that is the question...

Does it work for you?

*1. (Yes, it's a footnote.  I'm an English major, sue me)  I'm two novels down (Afterparty will be here January 7th, huge squee!!!! moment) but when I have a blank piece of paper or screen or pristine Starbuck napkin in front of me, I am back to would-be and I stay would-be until I'm putting the final touches on a book.