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The Baptist Death Ray

NaNoWriMo!

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So, come November National Novel Writing Month will once again rear it's ugly head -- it's proud, noble, messy, ugly head.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo? To write a novel in a month. The definition of "novel" has been stretched a bit so that it's 50,000 words (usually the minimum length for a novel for most publishers is 75-85K) -- but 50,000 words is quite an achievement.

Is it supposed to to be a GOOD novel? Of course not. You only have a month to do it in!

Is it supposed to be a GRIPPING novel? Inasmuch as the process grips you in a vise-like death grip and consumes all your spare time until you finish, yes. But again, quality is not the purpose here -- quantity is.

If it's not supposed to be good, then what's the POINT? The point is discipline. The hardest part of writing a novel is finishing it. It's far too easy to sabotage yourself during the process, get discouraged, and abandon the work. So many people have a need for something to be absolutely perfect on the first pass that they abandon work that still has value, even if its flawed -- that's what revising and editing is for, after all. NaNoWriMo is such a compressed time frame (for most people) that it forces you to chuck your self-censor out the window and just write. If you make the 50K mark by the end of November, that's discipline.

Of course, November is a tricky month, what with Thanksgiving, and with Christmas looming but a month away, but that's part of the challenge!

I first did NaNoWriMo in 2003. I set myself the insane (truly insane) goal of writing over 100,000 words in a month, and I wound up exceeding that goal. In 2004 I changed writing projects midstream and didn't get past 18,000. This year I'm hurtling into it again, headfirst and blindfolded.

Some of you have expressed interest in it in the past -- I invite you to join me. You might think it's not a good time... you're probably right. It's really never a good time, and it will take up all your spare time, and you might not even make it to the 50K mark, but there are plenty of people who try every year and "fail," and plan to do it again next November. There's value in doing it, whether you succeed or not... last year was probably more valuable for me than 2003 (when I "won").

Anyway, that's my pitch. I want y'all on board! Come on in, the insanity's great!

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I don't know, but I'll tell you what, it was insanely difficult to do, especially after I hit the 50,000 page mark... part of me kept whispering to myself "heyyy, you already hit the 50K mark, you can just stop now, and go do something else!"

This whispering was also echoed by Jason Bortz, who I've roped into it two years in a row so far (c'mon Jason, do it again!) and another friend of ours who is a hapless co-co-conspirator. But I resisted those influences, made it to around 103K (maybe 106K) and then went completely insane for the month of December.

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I want to do this, and you're right--being busy is a bad excuse because I will always be busy.

But there are stretches when I'm busier than normal, and from here until January will be one of those stretches.

I will stand by the sidelines and cheer you on, however.

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Ann, no more sidelines. Two years in a row is unacceptable.

You must try. biggrin.gif

You too, SDG. You too.

AHAHAAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaI'msodead.

And hey, BDR, I did NOT whisper for you to stop.

I just told you I hated you, and if you kept going I might have to kill you, and I'd find some way to make you rue the day your parents shared that moment of conception together.

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Would it be considered cheating to write 50,000 words on a novel I'm already working on. I'm just asking for the sake of argument of course, *cough*. No, I wouldn't cheat, would I? whistling2.gif

I'm predicting a lot of this for the month of November: computer007.gif

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Jason, would you be willing to take the time to frequently PM me, ask how I'm doing on the story, and generally riding my ass until the end?

This may come out sounding sarcastic, but I'm being serious. I'll give this a shot if I know there is someone who won't let me quit. Otherwise, I've got too many priority projects for work that have to be done by the end of the year.

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Would it be considered cheating to write 50,000 words on a novel I'm already working on.

Yup, that's cheating, you cheating cheater. smile.gif

The allotted time for the project begins 12:00am November 1st and runs through 11:59:59pm November 30th. Anything pre-existing would be considered a head start...

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I have a book deadline about six months away that I've been ignoring. This might be a heck of a way to knock out a first draft. Is it cheating if I start now?

Edited by Sara Zarr

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Sara, you can pre-plan the entire year, so if you want to outline a plot or develop characters, you can. But you can't write your first sentence until November 1.

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Well, I think I'm committed. I have a week off next week, so instead of cleaning my house like I really, really, really need to do, I'll try to think of a concept I'd like to pursue.

God help me.

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Oh, He will, He will....

...after you've collapsed, writhing and gibbering on the cool linoleum tiles...

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Sara, you can pre-plan the entire year, so if you want to outline a plot or develop characters, you can.  But you can't write your first sentence until November 1.

Perfect! Another excuse to put the whole thing off and do stuff like redesign my web site!

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Would it be considered cheating to serve as a special advisor to an existing NaNoWrimMo project? After all, it works for Tim LaHaye.

Oh, I can't put anything past you people can i? doh.gifbiggrin.gif

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Crow, if you're in, we can pester each other to finish on IM. After all, once we win the World Series we'll need something to talk about until spring training. tongue.gif

Off-topic--there are two soccer emotes but no baseball emote? What's this world coming to?

Edited by Ann D.

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I'm going to join in on the fun for NaNoWrimo. After all, the seventh game of the World Series is on the 30th of October, which gives us a full day to celebrate the eventual Cardinals victory, so there's no excuse not to get going on the first of November. smile.gif

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In order to hit the 50k mark, one must average roughly 1613 words per day. To be safe at bare minimum, allot 1700--I'd also recommend setting weekends at 4 to 5k per day.

(I missed two weeks the first year and had to have marathon brain pounding 15k weekends. And BDR, well, he did have a few days of nothingness, but made up for them with days of massive vomitous upheavals. I'd get home from work and he'd have logged 4k before I even sat down to the computer. I hate him still.)

I tend to edit on the fly, something they don't recommend at NaNo--but something I really can't help. The idea is to bind the internal critic for a month and to simply spew, regardless of what the 'completed integrity of the piece' will look like.

Maybe you guys will have better luck than I did with that. wink.gif I did reach the deadline--and let me tell you, that feeling is quite beyond compare if you're not used to doing so. smile.gif

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1700 a day? I don't think I broke 1000 on my story for the Writer's Block, and that took me three months.

Can I back out of this? whistling2.gif

Jason, that will be the hardest thing for me to overcome as well. Even as I type this, I'm editing and revising it in my head. I imagine I'll preview it three times before finally posting.

Hmm, only previewed it twice. I must be slipping.

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I love this idea. This is the second time I've run across a mention of this writing project and I've been passing the link on to all the writers I know (all two of them). I'm not signed up yet, but I will be by the time November rolls around. I have a couple story ideas I'm toying with in my head, I don't think I'll settle on one until I sit down for the first day of writing on November 1st.

I'm also going to stop by Borders and check out founder Chris Baty's book, "No Plot, No Problem," for some tips.

I've never taken on any writing assignment this big. Ever. All my writing looks like the stuff I post on my blog here at the Arts and Faith blog (see lonetomato.blogspot.com for the unabridged version). This project terrifies and thrills me at the same time.

Can't wait to get started, can't wait to finish.

Edited by LoneTomato

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Well, it's like Regan says: You're gonna die up there!

No, no, just kidding. biggrin.gif Excellent, welcome aboard the NaNoDinghy!

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