Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spotlight On... National Novel Writing Month

--by Hanje Richards

Many of you think of Thanksgiving when you think of November. You may think of the start of holiday shopping, the changing of seasons, some days off of work and/or school. This November, I am thinking about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The motto for NaNoWriMo is: "November 1st – 30th: Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon."

Have you ever thought about writing a novel? I have. When I was eight or nine, I even interviewed babysitters to illlustrate the juvenile novels that I was plotting in my head. I thought about it in Junior High, I thought about it in my twenties. I thought about it when Helen Hooven Santmyer’s most famous book (And Ladies of the Club) was published when she was 88 years old... and made the bestseller list.

I have not given up yet. I am still thinking about novel writing, but I guess you could say I have been one of those people that the NaNoWriMo people call a “one day novelist,” meaning that I always thought that ONE DAY, I would write a novel. All that is about to change. I am going to sign up for and commit myself to the NaNoWriMo.

If you are interested in the project, which over 165,000 people participated in last year, I highly recommend that you visit the website: . This well-organized website has everything about the project, about how to participate in it and what the whole thing is about... and it tells you way more than I could in this space.

Here is the short version:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

If you have ever wanted to write a novel, or to challenge yourself in a way you may not have challenged yourself before, check out the website for NaNoWriMo. If you are interested in watching someone else do it, you can follow my posts here at the Copper Queen Library blog. I promise to be brutally honest about the process, and hope to have a little fun sharing this experience with others.

If you are considering participating in NaNoWriMo, we would love to hear your comments, your experiences and anything you would like to share with others. If there are people who are interested in forming a virtual or real-life support group during the process, that is absolutely a possibility; just let us know!

(A word to the wise: 50,000 words in 30 days is 1,667 words a day!)