Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

National Novel Writing Month. Writing 50,000 words in one month with no other reward than being able to say you did it - you wrote that much in one month.

I did it first in 2007 - actually, I came up with 72,000 words, on the one hand because I was worried whether I really could make it to 50,000, and on the other hand, because I wanted something closer to real-novel length. That's always the problem: 50,000 words is a lot of wordage for one month, but it's only near half a novel, so a lot of work is left for later.

In 2008, I took a different approach and wrote two stories of just above 50,000 words each. One was half of a valid novel, the other was a piece of fanfiction which I had wanted to post on a fanfiction site but which disappeared off my computer before I had the occasion to do so. I see that NaNoWriMo have introduced a 'novel backup day' which is an absolute must.

The biggest problem I had on both occasions was the post-NaNo momentum. Overwriting during one month made me slow down to virtually complete writer's block level for at least one month after that.

That post-NaNo depression was the reason I did not participate in the event last year. Instead I focused my attention in November on just getting on with my Work In Progress at the time. I also switched to participating in a NaNoWriMo-related event, namely ScriptFrenzy, writing a 100-page script in April. That target is much more realistic and at the end, before rewrites, you actually have a completed work, not one that's half-finished.

So what about 2010? The attraction was too strong to resist. But to counter a recurrence of the post-NaNoWriMo blues, this time I decided to go slow. 50,000 words will really be enough this time. I'm sticking to a realistic rhythm, one slightly higher than the normal average of 1,667 words per day in order to account for any lost days on the way. I already had two of those because I needed to fly from Europe to Asia earlier this month.

Right now, I'm on target and I intend to stay there. Because I'm not exaggerating, I hope I will be able to keep up the tempo throughout December and finish a whole novel by the end of the year. The rewrites and second and third drafts will come early next year.

For 2011, I plan to keep up the same tempo, i.e. write and rewrite one book every three months. I already have more ideas than I can write books about in two years. They include action thrillers involving European and Asian politics, historical novels centering on the Middle Ages and on the Roman and Egyptian eras, and a book based on a separate blog I'm setting up.

In the mean time, let's get this NaNoWriMo baby rolling. By December, I will be able to post the NaNoWriMo 2010 Winner logo on this site. And be looking forward to completing that novel, a thriller about young Americans wandering through China.

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