Saturday, October 07, 2006

Literary Pretensions

I recently learned about an annual activity called NaNoWriMo by its followers. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. In 1999 came its inception. The premise? Write at least 50,000 words in one month's time. This constituted the size of a shorter novel, in the league of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye or Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.

The tongue-in-cheek responses to the FAQ won me over. This year in November, I aim to start with the swarm of others. Do I have an idea what I will write about yet? Nope. But I choose to believe Ray Bradbury's philosophy will work: "Your intuition knows what it wants to write, so get out of the way."

In preparation, I broke in Interlibrary Loan here in South Bend to scrounge up a copy of No Plot? No Problem!: A low-stress, high velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days. The creator of NaNoWriMo penned this book to guide us through the experience. I feel much as I did preparing for my first RAGBRAI, where I read everything the Des Moines Register had on conditioning for the event. As well as readying Chris Baty's book, I found myself browsing the forums; one was analyzing the merits of various typefaces.

Will I finish the month with a rough draft? I'm not sure. I would certainly have the time to accomplish this (Baty claims the average individual needs 55 hours to do so). We'll see if the drive holds out. I wasn't sure this blog would be around past the first couple months, but it seems to want to stick around a while longer.

So come November, send author-ish vibes my way. I will try to frequent coffeeshops and libraries so I can get in the literary groove. Perhaps you want to join me in this challenge?


Tropical Screamer said...

This is my third year to do NaNo. I look forward to it all year.

I never start with an outline. I just think about it off and on all year and let it pour out at midnight on November 1.

It's great fun. Especially if you don't have any expectations about what comes out.

I'm Speedbump on the NaNo forum. Here's a link to my NaNo profile. I'll also be posting updates on my blog.

Welcome to the party. :)


Anonymous said...

Grandma Says - If you think about your family with many ups and downs and add some interesting fiction, your NaNo will flow fast to completion. Love you!