Nano

No, not the iPod thingy. The novel writing thing, whatever the acronym is. How many people have done it? I don't even know a lot about it but I see references to it everywhere. I couldn't imagine trying to write a 50k novel in month. Or is it a week? It would suck so bad my computer would break in protest.

So who's done it and how did you fare?

14 comments:

Tabitha said...

I am just as curious about this as you are. :)

I cannot imagine writing 50k words in a month. No, not entirely true. I can't imagine *making myself* write 50k words in a month. Don't get me wrong, I'm a planner and a scheduler and set goals for myself, but NANO seems more about word count and less about content. And I just can't imagine writing 50k words without honoring my writing process (which sometimes requires me to go back and rewrite chapter 1).

But since I've never done it, maybe I'm missing something. So, I'm just as interested in hearing about this as you are. :)

Prince Balthazar said...

I'm with you Tabitha. But I guess we all have different ways of coming up with ideas. Sometimes I don't know the end of a book until it's been stewing in my head for a long time. So I can't imagine knowing the complete scope of a book in one month. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those writers who has the whole novel just pop in their heads.

Sigh..

Charmalot: said...

Hey guys! I have attempted Nano, and that's it in a nutshell: quantity, not quality. Whatever happens after that is a bonus. The thought made me cringe in the beginning too, but I learned the act of writing purely for the sake of writing - nothing more - is one of most liberating things you can do for yourself. Trust.

Are you guys thinking about it? Because I'll totally be your cheerleader! ;)

Big Plain V said...

Quoting Tabitha: "NANO seems more about word count and less about content".

That's about the gist of it. But you know what? It's fun, and it gets your keyboard smoking. Personally, I'm a quick writer, so 50k is no big deal. The appeal for me is the community and the fellowship with other writers. Cuz most areas have weekly meetings called 'write-ins'.

I've got a link to my NANO profile in my blog's sidebar. If you're interested, you can go there and follow my writing buddies to the NANO forums. Should give you a good taste of the fun we had last year.

Dawn Colclasure said...

I have tried NaNo twice. The first time I had serious issues with the book (I obviously chose the wrong story to write!), and, the second time, I got tapped for an assignment and I couldn't say no, so, I had to abandon it. I am once again going to attempt it this year. We'll see how this time turns out.

Elise Murphy said...

I think I'd have to NANO the WIP before I could NANO something new and that is just way too many acronyms for one month.

I'll cheer you on if you decide to do it!

Pink Ink said...

I did NaNo for the first time last year (see my blog post "Please, No Lies" for a link). I had finished one other novel before that, but it probably took me a year. I was a bit intimidated because about the same time, my dad had health issues.

I went ahead and did it, writing in blocks of time in the morning, and it was the most insane, most wonderful thing I'd done with fiction in a long time. I couldn't just keep editing, so my story flowed better. I made sure I had lots of rewards when I made my word count goal for the day.

When I passed the 50k mark by like the 29th day, I felt like I could do anything. Like BPV said, I loved doing it with a bunch of other insane people :-). If you want to write the first draft of a novel that's been bugging you, it's a great way to do it. Sarah Gruen, the author of "Water For Elephants" swears by it. That said, you have to be realistic. Your family has to be on board, and dishes will have to wait, and sleep, what sleep, will probably be a thing of the past. :-)

Carrie Harris said...

I Nanoed once. It taught me that I could indeed finish something book length, so that was good. But other than that? I started out with a fantasy satire and somewhere around the halfway point it turned into political satire. So... er... the quality was less than... oh, who am I trying to kid? It sucked.

So yes, I think it's all about quantity.

Prince Balthazar said...

Thanks for all the interesting comments guys. It certainly seems to have its benefits. Not the least of which is the mission of sitting down and writing.

Thanks

Devon Ellington said...

I've done it three years, and "won" every year -- in other words, made it to 50K or more.

I even wrote a booklet about it, a free download, or you can email me and I'll send it to you, 30 Tips for 30 Days.

If you want it badly enough, it's no big deal. I write my first 1-1.5K every morning first thing anyway. For Nano, it's only 1666 words/day. I like to be done before Thanksgiving, so I write 2500 words/day.

I have a slew of deadlines in November/December this year (novel, novella, play, etc.), so I don't know if I'll do it this year. But I think everyone should try it once.

Quantity instead of quality can get frustrating, but it's a first draft, people, you're supposed to vomit up the first draft quickly so you can see what you have and revise.

It's a good way to shake up your process. The "process" is supposed to be a springboard, not a prison. Too many people use "process" as an excuse not to expand and experiment, even when, in the long run, it'll help the writing.

You have to somewhat reinvent the wheel with every novel anyway.

You can hop over onto my blog archives and read about the process from the previous few Novembers, if you want a hint of what's going on.

If you visit the website, www.devonellingtonwork.com and go to the 'bazaar' page, I think the download link to the booklet is still there.

The past two years I mentored first years through it -- thirty-four of them last year, which was a bit much.

I'm signed up for this year, although I don't know if I'll do it -- it depends how far I get with the novel and the novella and the play this month, in addition to teaching at the Muse Online Conference.

I may skip this year -- but I'll probably go back and do it again.

I managed a novel every time I did it. Granted, they needed more rewriting, mostly because by the end of it I was so sick of them I couldn't look at them anymore. But it was worth it.

If you don't push yourself once in awhile, you don't grow. What's the point of being in the same kind of rut with you writing as you are in a day job, if you have a day job?

Plus, I also really like the sense of writing in community.

I don't like the people who whine or who aren't committed and then complain about it or make excuses. Far too many of those every year.

There are pros and cons. You're tired. You're freaked out. You're ecstatic. I've met some truly lovely people through it, including hooking up with a writers' group I will join as soon as I relocate.

But you have to really want it, and it makes you re-assess your commitment to the writing life, which I think is a good thing. Things I learned during Nano have helped me make the transition to full time writing.

Devon Ellington said...

I just scanned my Nano blog for last year -- not only did I hit the 50K and beyond for my Nano novel, EARTH BRIDE (which was developed in the Muse Conference last year), I completed TRACKING MEDUSA, which is currently out on submission. I forgot I'd worked on them simultaneously.

So it CAN be done.

Devon Ellington said...

I just checked back. Last year, I hit 50K on November 13 for EARTH BRIDE, kept going, and also worked on TRACKING MEDUSA in tandem.

I was lucky -- I picked the right project which wouldn't let me rest, outlined and developed it in October, and my fingers flew over the keys in November. It's not yet ready for submission, but I got a lot done on it.

Last year was definitely my best Nano year. My first year was okay, my second was tough because I had a hard time with the project, and last year rocked.

My original goal was to do it three times, and that was met.

I'll shut up now -- I've taken up too much of your space.

Prince Balthazar said...

Devon, you are a wellspring of information!

Thanks so much!I'll check out that pamphlet.

cindy said...

hello! thanks for stopping by to comment! no one thought it was weird i was taking fotos. i do it all the time--in more upscale restaurants even! go back and click on "food" label in my blog. haha!

i did nano in 2006. i used it to establish a good writing routine and i completed 35k for my debut novel. i was really scared of THE MIDDLE and had stopped writing it altogether for months, and nano helped me to break that barrier.

i wasn't looking to "win". and it was very helpful to me.

this year, i'm planning on playing again to start my sequel. again, not playing to win, but looking for the camarderie from other writers.

you should try it!