A lo-flow promo for NaNoWriMo

October 26, 2007

A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.
G.K. Chesterton

Another November is upon us which means that National Novel Writing Month (“NaNoWriMo” to us Illuminati) is about to unhinge itself and come crashing through the party like a drunken uncle with an off-color joke in one hand and a tortured metaphor stuffed into his pants.

I kid, of course. The aim of the project is to give would-be novelists the impetus to get 50,000 words down in 30 days, and save the editing for later. I made an attempt last year, but crashed an burned after about a week. A solid daily quota of around 1700 words is needed to finish on time, and it’s a helluva lot harder than it sounds, especially if you try to get ahead today so you don’t have to write tomorrow and so on.

Like many people who read, I’ve aspired regularly to write. I think the urge comes naturally and honestly, and is probably more of a tribute to the authors I’ve read. My, how it looks so seamless and perfect. He’s using words. I know words, too. Moreover, I can form sentences and such. I’ve ideas. Many of my intellectual heroes were also writers of fiction. Ergo, I should be a writer of fiction. QED.

The trouble is that knowing words (or to be more expansive, being “well-read”) informs one on the art of writing about as much as riding in cars prepares one to be a mechanic. It helps, but only insofar as you end up with a gut-feeling about how things ought to run in order for the car to move. Open the hood of a blank novella, however, and I’m inclined to start reaching for the vice-grips of fiction: overwrought cliche. Or worse, self-indulgent formula that’s derivative to boot.

Meh.

But, damen und herren, here we are, seven days from the starting gun and I’ve already been scribbling an outline without any clear sense of an ending. The rules say that you must start with a clean slate on 1 November, but I’ve tried an opening paragraph and it has…something. A twitch of an idea. If nothing else, the experience will work as an excellent foil for future essays complaining about the difficulty of writing fiction. This, I’m reliably informed, is something I can do well.

To those who can pull it off, I doff my hat. As for the rest of us, it will be a dark and stormy night of the soul.

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4 Responses to “A lo-flow promo for NaNoWriMo”

  1. Sara Says:

    He’s using words. I know words, too.

    LOL.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

  2. PeregrinJoe Says:

    “Another November is upon us which means that National Novel Writing Month (”NaNoWriMo” to us Illuminati) is about to unhinge itself and come crashing through the party like a drunken uncle with an off-color joke in one hand and a tortured metaphor stuffed into his pants.”

    That is HILARIOUS. I actually laughed out loud when I read it. If you can put 50,000 words like that together, you’ll be doing great.

    Good luck I will meet you at the finish line bleary-eyed and satisfied.

  3. Cate Says:

    Good luck with NaNo – it’s my first year this year and the 1,667 words a day is very daunting. Cate 🙂


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