As NaNoWriMo Looms…
November is fast approaching, and some writer-acquaintances of mine will be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo – a chance to write a “novel” of 50,000 in one month, buoyed by the enthusiastic support of fellow writers).
Confession time: I have never participated in NaNoWriMo. I’ve always liked the idea – clear your schedule, make the commitment, write. A lot of writers aren’t able to make the commitment to their work, and NaNoWriMo inspires many of them to buckle down and, in Nike’s famous words, Just Do It.
But I’ve also been frustrated by the simplification of NaNoWriMo’s terms. The only market where 50,000 words is a “novel” is category romance. Getting 50,000 words written, any 50,000 words, without editing, without polishing, isn’t writing a novel.
Second confession time: I kinda, sorta, not-really participated in NaNoWriMo last year. On November 14, I sat down and started to pour out a novel. On December 1, I sent it to my agent, for his review. I made some edits, and it was submitted to my editor before the year end. She bought it a couple of months after that, and I have been pleased (and somewhat amused) to note that I am now a Harlequin category romance author. THE MOGUL’S MOCK MARRIAGE will be in stores some time next year.
And yet, it’s not fair to say that I “wrote a novel” last November. I drafted one, sure. (And even *that* wouldn’t have been done, if Bruce Springsteen hadn’t been playing in Richmond, leading my husband to be gone for one night of writing that ran until around 2:00 a.m.)
But I revised the novel three times — once to meet my agent’s suggestions, another time to transfer the story from one category to another, and a third time to respond to my editor’s edit letter. Along the way, I lost two (really, really hot!) sex scenes and added a best friend, a dog, two long “relationship” conversations, and a lot of character backstory.
This week, I read through MOGUL, cover to cover. It’s a much stronger novel now than it was last December 1. I suspect that there’s still one more round of edits to complete; we’ll see what tweaks are made then.
So. NaNoWriMo. I’m more torn than ever about the concept. But I’m considering blogging about it, off and on, during next month. Are you participating? If so, are there topics you think it would be interesting for me to address?
Mindy, moving on to the next writing challenge in the stack