Ask most people what October 31st means and they’ll say one thing: Halloween.
Some people will look you in the eye with a slightly manic expression.
NaNoWriMo Eve, they’ll say. Ah, the writers…
The day before the month-long writing extravaganza that is National Novel Writing Month.
I did NaNo a couple of years ago (and learned a few things). I’ve even got a copy of the ‘novel’ that I wrote sat on the desk next to me in hard copy. I’ve re-read bits of it, and whilst it’s not entirely terrible, there are huge swathes of it which are completely horrible. My protagonist, the Big Idea for that year’s effort, promptly disappears after the first chapter, only to be rediscovered sometime much later in the story. I have no idea what happened to her. She just… vanished.
That’s the thing about NaNo thought – it’s entirely about the wordcount. Quantity over quality. It forces you to put your butt in the seat and write. Pour the thoughts from your head out of your fingertips and onto the page. There are whole sections of the proto-novel which could easily (and humanely) be removed and replaced with a single line of prose. I also started to lose track of who was doing what to who, and why.
That said, I really enjoyed NaNo in 2011. I got to the end of the month (not necessarily the end of the story, mind you) having turned out something slightly in excess of 50,000 words in thirty days. I’d drunk an awful lot of coffee in the process.
And I’ve written virtually nothing since. Apart from this blog, obviously. Almost no fiction. Monty, the character who I’ve written the most about, has languished in my subconscious, waiting for the day to come for his hiinks to ensue once more.
So, here I sit, on NaNo Eve, pondering. Do I begin? The excuses are already lined up and waiting – it’s already going to be a busy couple of weeks – this weekend is a write off and we’re getting some decorating done next week for starters. Should I commit myself to another herculean task, churning out another 50k words?
Half of me says yes. Half of me looks at the other half and wonders if the other half is insane. Should I throw Monty at NaNo and see what happens? See if I can get a full story out there?
How about you, dear reader? Have you tackled NaNoWriMo? Are you doing it this year?