I think I'm finally going to do it this year: NaNoWriMo.
Some of you are thinking, "Uh, are you insane?" Some of you are thinking "Awesome!" And some of you are thinking, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
I'm somewhere between the first two opinions. First, let me explain: NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. You have between November 1 and November 30 to write at least 50,000 words. That's it. If you write 50,000 words – even if they are total crap – you win. You can hash out your plot and all of that beforehand, but no novel writing can actually begin until November 1 at midnight. Novels can be any theme, any genre, any language. Seriously anything is allowed – the FAQ on the page says, "If you believe you're writing a novel, we believe you're writing a novel too."
The problem isn't the skill - I think I am a pretty decent writer (although I may be flattering myself). The problem is the plot. I guess maybe my day job of writing about finances and earnings releases and promotions and the implementation of projects and world-class teams and "innovative" initiatives has turned the truly imaginative part of my brain to mush. I have zero plot ideas.
Also? I have the attention span of a gnat. So the thought of writing 50,000 words in a mere 30 days is, you know, a bit daunting. I know it's only April, but I figure I'm going to need a couple of months to come up with a decent idea for a plot.
Anyway, since I have NaNoWriMo on the brain, I thought I would share it – and a few facts about it - with any fellow aspiring novelists out there.
•NaNoWriMo is celebrating its ninth birthday this year. It was created in 1999 by Chris Baty of San Francisco.
•50,000 words isn't as long as you think it is. Novels that hover around the 50k word count mark include The Great Gatsby, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Brave New World.
•50,000 words in 30 days averages out to about 1,667 words per day.
Sara Gruen, the author of Water for Elephants, was a participant in NaNoWriMo.
•A scant 21 people participated in 1999, NaNoWriMo's first year. Just for reference, last year, 101,767 writers spent November scrabbling a novel together.
•No one will actually read your novel unless you want them to. When you submit it for a word count, a program actually counts the words – not a real person. So, if your novel is crap, no worries! No one has to know but you.
•The collective word count for 2007 was 1187,931,929
•Participants who have had their books published are:
and The Mote in Andrea's Eye
So, help me out here, Neatorama readers! Anyone ever participated before? Was it worth it? What was your novel about?