Novel Writing Month

- by ria, on Wednesday, 10th November 2010, 4:04pm

I’m not doing Nanowrimo this year (reason at the end of this post), but I would like to wish all the people who are participating luck. Keep at it, no matter how bad you think your novel is. I’ve done Nano a few times, and what I’ve realised is that Nano isn’t about writing something good. It’s about writing something vaguely resembling the story you want to tell. It’s a head start on draft1. It’s about getting rid of the obstacle presented by a blank page.

It’s much easier to work with something you already have than to write from scratch. It took me three tries of Nano to figure this out. My first attempt I wanted to get perfect. My second attempt was a kind of personal curiosity (it turns out that writing 50,000 words while on a 6 week camping road trip isn’t a good idea). The third try was about getting the story down, no matter how bad it was. And it worked as well as it was meant to.

The story I wrote is appalling. The writing is atrocious. The plot is nothing but a group of scenes strung together by the flimsiest of threads. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I know what works and what doesn’t work. I know my characters’ motivations, and I have a better idea of how the plot should resolve.

Better still, it means that when I sit down to write the book properly, I don’t have to face a blank page. I already have a framework, no matter how bad it might be. And for that, I will always be an advocate of Nanowrimo.

* * *

The reason I’m not doing Nano this year is because I’m in the middle of moving house. That’s why there was no post last week and why there will be no post next week. In fact, this day next week, I will be on a plane to America. I’m excited, but the move has meant that I’ve done no writing at all in the last two weeks (it feels like two months), and I probably won’t do any for a few weeks after we arrive (I’ll be too busy getting used to my new surroundings).


category: events, writing

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