Thursday, October 22, 2009
An alternative approach to Nanowrimo
Many of my co-writers are put off by the idea of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, and I know how that can be, so this morning I decided to post some alternative ideas about Nano, which I hope you'll find interesting.
The one thing to remember, is that different to contests, Nano is not about beautiful sentence structure, great characters and tight plotting, but instead about volume. Nobody except you gets to read your 50,000 words, so there is no criticism involved, and this, on its own, can be a powerful incentive to write, and unlock creativity. It struck me that there are as many different types of writers as there are cars, or chocolate for that matter. Perhaps you like to write short stories? In that case, perhaps your 'novel' could be a collection of short stories rather than a novel. The target is just over 1,600 words per day. If you decided to write a collection of 2,000 word short stories during November, you would have 25 by months end, or you could take the pick and mix approach, and still end up with a collection worth something at the end of the month.
Nano gives you the freedom to do this, not all chapters of your magnus opus need to be perfect, or even good, you can let your mind wander and see what comes out of it, and if you get stuck, as Chris Baty (Nano head) advises, why not have a spaceship land? Great if you write science fiction, and somewhat dubious if you write Regency romance, but it will get you out of a hole, and once you've written that bit, you may find that your earlier story re-emerges, in spades.
The first week is always easy, a new story, new characters, and lots of inspiration. Week two is more difficult, working on those threads and building the characters, and by the time you get to week three, you're pulling your hair out, wondering why you started, and wishing you were anywhere else but in the middle of a dog of a story. If you can get through week 3 everything changes, inspiration is back, and writing is pure joy again. I don't have a problem with having bizarre writing in week 3, worse case scenario is that you have 11,000 words of dodgy material in there which can be rewritten (or cut), but still almost 40,000 words completed that you can work with in 2010.
NaNoWriMo is a different way of writing, a way your brain adapts to. It's challenging, inspiring, and great fun, so for those who haven't considered it I'd say join the party - I bet you'll enjoy it.
Posted by Sally Clements at 9:56 AM