Some of you will hear me say the word NaNoWriMo and conclude that I have ceased to communicate using actual language, and have instead resorted to monosyllabic grunts as a means of expression.
“What are you up to Rick?”
“NA! NO! WRI! MO!”
*bites brick, waves stick, jumps up and down in own excrement, runs away from fire*
(which may turn out to describe this NaNoWriMo experience better than I currently expect)
Far from it. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November people from all over the world sign up and try to blast out a story at least 50,000 words long* during the 30 qualifying days. Many do so for the hell of it, with no real intention of publishing the result. Others with more serious intent use it as a springboard on a larger project, making their first strides during NaNo and continuing beyond that. Whatever. People have fun with it.
I’ve just signed up, because of fortuitous timing. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, next year I’m dropping most things in order to work on a massive project that’s going to require a regular word count in order to make happen. I’m looking forward to it, but know I’m out of the habit of daily writing. NaNo should kill or cure that. It’s the ultimate warm-up.
Furthermore, there’s one story that must absolutely be finished before I begin the new project in January, and that’s The Blackened Soul, the third and final volume of The Lomax Chronicles (following on from The Flesh Remembers and The Weighing of the Heart). When it’s published, The Blackened Soul will probably be less than NaNo’s required 50,000 words (neither of the previous novellas exceed 40,000), but in first draft 50 is a good target, and gives me plenty of editing options in December. Overwriting and cutting is way easier than the other way around. I usually like to lose at least a fifth of a manuscript when I edit. Any less and I feel like I’m doing it wrong.
So, yes. As The Blackened Soul and NaNoWriMo are happening at the same time, it makes sense in my own brain to do them…well…at the same time.
Also, I get this badge thing that updates as the month goes along. The official daily average I have to hit in order to meet 50,000 in 30 days is 1667 words. It’s a lot, when you have dayjobbery stuff to also be getting on with, but it’s achievable with a bit of application. I’m off to a good start today, a little ahead of the required wordage, but only because I’m cheating. The opening act of The Blackened Soul already exists in a notebook, so for the first few days I’ll be doing more transcribing than writing, with a little editing on the fly.
So is anybody else taking the NaNo plunge this year? If you are, and want to find me on their website, my username is the (unimaginative) Richard_Wright.
*Which would be a very short novel, by traditional standards, but hey, who made you King Of Book Lengths?**
**Seriously, that’s not even a thing. Chill out.