This is my NaNoNoWriMo update. Before I get into explaining why November was just a bad choice on the part of the creators (of the traditional NaNo, not my version), let me recap what I’ve shared with you so far, and a little bit that is more recent, to get you up to date.
Although I was really excited about the project I chose to begin with and I started out pretty well in terms of keeping to the word count, it turned out the stories I was working on were not developed enough in my head to make it to the paper. As I’ve said to every person I’ve talked to about writing lately, that particular project needs more time to gestate. That sail lost wind and I couldn’t get it back. I felt that I would be able to get more done if I reopened my Sleeping Beauty retelling, of which I had already written about 18,000 words last year (and even earlier, probably). I dug up that file and started tacking words on to the end. I think it would have been better to re-read the beginning first, but I didn’t have time. I haven’t written much more yet, but I can at least see that story in my mind, so the switch was a good choice. I might actually be able to finish a reasonable word count.
If you have been here before, you may have seen that my goal is 30k for the month. I am doubting now that I’ll be able to make it, but 20k or even 25 seems reasonable. My new goal is a minimum of 20k words, and with any luck as close to 30k as I can manage.
Fairly recently I reblogged a post about why NaNoWriMo doesn’t work. For me, the most important point is that most novels are longer than 50,000 words, many are well over twice that much, and some are that number many times over. So, the claim is that you can write a novel in a month, yet the word goal will not allow you to finish your story. My Sleeping Beauty novel (which does not yet have a title) is now around 20,000 words, and I’ve barely made it out of exposition. Granted a fair bit of that might be cut out later, but that only adds to my point–most novels get substantial chunks cut out of their first, very rough, drafts, because it’s good for the writer to write out every single scene and details, but it might not be good for the finished book to keep those pieces. So a novel that is 100,000 words in its final version might even be 200,000 in its first, full-bodied, uncut draft.
Of course, anyone who goes into NaNoWriMo expecting to have a perfectly packaged finished product by the end of the month is, at the very least, kidding themselves.
This argument is why NaNoWriMo as a concept is kind of flawed–as are most things in this world–but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. If I get enough momentum in my novel to keep writing it into December, January, February, until it’s finished, because of this month, that’s a good thing.
But November is such a bad time to have a goal like this. I don’t understand the logic of placing it at this time of year. Much of this I’m sure will just be my experience, but there must be some people who can relate. Let’s commiserate, shall we? Continue reading →