So, my writery peeps, if you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, I am sad! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is the month of November. You write 1666.66 words per day, or write extra some days to make up for slower other days, for a total of 50,000 words written by the end of the month. Midnight Nov. 1st, you can start your word count. It's meant to show you CAN write a novel in a short amount of time.
Of course, this is just the first draft, and we all know editing takes at least two or three times longer than the first draft. Which sucks if you get distracted and take forever on the first draft... but I digress. The point is, you can prove to yourself how much you really CAN write every day if you put your mind to it. There is no major awesome thing you win at the end, they won't send you a T-Shirt or a coffee mug or anything in congratulations. It's just you, patting your own self on your own back, saying, look, I did it!
<< See, totally awesome thing to have. I did it! The beginning of book 1, The Order of Yuli, the one I'm nearing completion on, was born here.
So! If you're participating in 2011, do you have your plan? Do you have a plot, outline, character sketches going, or are you planning to just wing it this year? I flaked out last year, but I had my reasons... (Recently reconciling with the estranged spouse, not wanting to take too much time away from family during the up-in-the-air emotional time. And if I had it to do again, I'd do it the same way.)
Anyway! So, what's your plan?? Are you going to join me in my crazy writery land? How do you do such things?
And if you're interested in reading the general idea behind all of this craziness, the lovely person who started NaNo wrote this book. Check it out! No Plot? No Problem!
However, I do find a problem with no plot. I ended up rambling incessantly (What?! ME?!) for the first 30k pages without really taking my story anywhere. Granted, once I figured out what I wanted to do, I have lots of useful things I can work from in those 30k pages... but a LOT of it will have to go.
If you want other good how-to-write-a-book books, I'd recommend these: 250 Things You Should Know About Writing, and Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey. They're written by the same guy, and 250 Things is much shorter and more concise, but they're both VERY good. I'm currently in the midst of the editing section on COAFP, and it's blowing my mind out of the water. Seriously, I put a lot of thought into what I put on a page, but I've never used spreadsheets before. Now I'm going to have to start. It makes sense, I used to do lots of other kinds of writing things out (highschool students and their class schedules so I know who is in what class together, etc).... but spreadsheets?? Genius! Even if it means an assload more work. Ah, well.
Anyway. If you want to see how crazy this whole idea of spreadsheets can be, Wendig recommended looking up J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter plot spreadsheet. Holy crap. She keeps track of every little thing, subplots, month, general theme of each chapter, dream sequences, what's happening with each person during the course of the chapter, how they all intersect, etc. Seriously amazing. I knew the books were well planned, and I always wondered if it was planned ahead of time or not... Anyway, the question with this is... did she plot it all out before she wrote it, or after, and fixed the things that didn't fit? Either way, loads of work. BUT you can absolutely see how well it panned out for her. Those books really are fantastic reads, and the further into them you get, the better the writing gets. Rowling is someone to learn from, to be sure.
I leave you with this. Chew on it for a while. Wow.