Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Nano, nano, bo-bano,
Banana-fana fo-fano,
It's October! Which means next month is November! WOO!!! HOO!!!
Okay. Now that I've used my yearly exclamation mark quota (as if that will stop me, MUAHAHAHA) let me explain to those of you who are confused. 

November is nanowrimo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's international these days, but Innowrimo sounds like a disease so they suck with 'nano'. Nanowrimo is a novel-writing challenge. 50,000 words. 30 days. The principle, according to founder Chris Baty's book NO PLOT, NO PROBLEM is that the only thing standing between you and your novel is a deadline. 

I'm a firm believer in 'to each his own' so I won't swear that nano is the best thing ever for EVERY writer. But it is the best thing to happen to ME. 

I got this fuzzy idea about novel-writing sometime in my teen years. (Thank God that computer crashed. My novel attempts were painful.) The furthest I got on my novelling path pre-Nano was 15,000 words. I've already mentioned that my attention bounces around like a kangaroo on Speed. When I came to Japan, a French Canadian friend of mine introduced me to Nano. Who would have thought that all the way out in backabush Iwate, Japan there'd be 4 English speakers jumping into a writing challenge?

So I wrote and wrote and wrote. Sometime around the 20th, I took a break, and lost several days time. And then wrote insane amounts for the last dew days to 'win' within minutes of the 11.59 November 30th deadline. Even after 3 successful nano's, that's still my M.O. Last year was particularly bad. I missed the start for no particularly reason. Then I caught up, and fell behind again by Nov 7. I wrote 14,000 words on the final day. lol. 

Why do I love Nano?
 1. Commitment is not my thing. I get bored spending 3 years in the same country. There's no way a first draft is going to hold my attention for months and months. 

2. It's more exciting to figure it out as I go. I do a minimum of plotting. Every nano, I jump in with some characters, a few traits, and a premise. If I know too much about my characters, the bore me. I need to get to know them the same way I get to know real people, by hanging out with them. If I study them from notes like a history textbook, they feel just about as interesting. Ditto for plot and everything else.

3. The support system is amazing. If you spend a lot of time in the publishing blogosphere and Twitter, then you know the amazing network that is the writers world. Now imagine that sort of network 24 hours a day with forums. SWOON.
4. I started out with nano. This blog exists because of nano. That's where I first heard mention of Nathan Bransford, and hanging on his blog is what made me start this blog with writing as one of it's focal points. As a result of this blog and the people I met through it, I decided to go for publication- not in a whimsical, some day sort of way, but in a 'I have to do this or it will break my soul' way. Nano will always hold a special place in my heart for being the thing that converted me.

But there is one reason that I love nano, above all the other reasons. 

I have NEVER COMPLETED a first draft outside nano. 

If you, like me, want to write, but have never been succesful at staying committed to a novel - or you have a premise that you'd like to develop no strings attached - or you just like to jump in head, feet or bum first - come join us. 
My username is muchlanguage. Add me if you're in.


Sidrah said...

am going to try it after I complete my studies =D

I always get bored of my stories/characters etc etc =/ the excitement and all the energy just disappear.

Good luck! =)

Jon Paul said...

I'm in again this year, Claire. It was a real blast keeping up last year, and yeah: I pounded out like 12,000 words in the last couple days.

I'm hoping it goes somewhat better this year, but we'll see, with another kid in the house and us getting ready to move back to the States.

But I'm in it to win it! :D

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I will never be able to think of NaNoWriMo again without that song! You make it fun.
I'm still finishing my dark fairy tale, so I don't think I'm going to NaNoBoBano, but I know you'll have a great time.

Anonymous said...

I've decided to attempt NaNo for the first time this year! :D I used to think I could never do it so there wasn't even use trying, but I've made a lot of discoveries about myself lately... Among other things, I'm like you, I get bored if I spend too much time dragging the same story (which is why I never finished anything before; there was always a better, newer idea that lured me away from my previous project). Secondly, my method is that I have no method. Any approach to a story that I've used before won't work as well the second time. I need something new every time! So who knows: maybe NaNo will work for me after all! ;)

Shari Green said...

This post makes me want to NaNo again. :) I love it, and I've done it several times, but this year the timing isn't going to be right.

Good luck to you -- have fun!