NaNoWriMo and Related Exercises in Wheel-Spinning

November 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

If you are reading this blog, the likelihood that you are already aware of what NaNoWriMo is is quite high.

On the off-chance that you aren’t, here’s what this strange acronym stands for:

National No-Good (Times Trying to) Write (Anything Halfway Decent) Month.

No, no, OK, it’s really National Novel Writing Month, and it’s a real deal. It has a website and urvythang. And I’m doing it for the first time this year. A NaNo-Novice! Or at least I am signed up on said website, and have a decent (though far from formidable) word count going already.

NaNoWriMo writers have one goal: to write 50,000 words in one month. This means that you have to aim (aim, I said), for 2,000 words a day and hope that what comes out has the makings of a novel (or memoir or short story collection or what-have-you), which you then edit like the dickens because your fast typing and no time for deleting has left it almost illegible. The point is not to create perfectly crafted prose, each word le mot juste. No, the point is just to get out of your rut (because you’re in one, and you know it) and GET SHIT ON THE PAGE.

Everyone picks a project, and then on November 1st, if you’re a good little NaNo-er, you go! Go! Yes, now! Write! PUT THE WORDS DOWN! Don’t stop and think, just DO IT!

As you may know, I’ve just finished my MFA, which I earned by churning out nine stories that weren’t deemed total bull by my committee. But there was one among the several that I deemed total bull and didn’t allow to see the light of the copy machine which has been nagging at me, mostly because I loved the spooky weird beginning, but didn’t know where it could possibly go.

So rather than, say, using NaNoWriMo to write a brilliant YA coming-of-age novel in which girls turn into cat-wolf-things, which would have been easier (I said easier, not easy) because I’ve had it outlined since I was 18 ( when I didn’t yet realize that said material was YA: younger me just thought it was brilliant), I’ve gone off my rocker and decided to turn the atmospheric, spooky short story that has a beginning but no clear direction…into a novel. I figured, if I couldn’t turn it into a short story before the thesis had to be turned in, I might as well go for broke, throw as much shit at it as possible, like a determined, literary monkey, and see if anything sticks and somehow turns my 3,000 words into 53,000.

Urgh. « Read the rest of this entry »

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