There’s a longstanding piece of American madness which has somehow managed to infect the world. Every November, hundreds of thousands of writers commit to writing a novel in a month. And a couple of them actually manage to complete the task. I’ve done it myself, once or twice.
National Novel Writing Month – also known as NaNoWriMo, and sometimes NoNoNoNo – is the name of the game. The crazy writers are called WriMos, and the wacky novels are NaNos, and it’s a barrow load of fun.
Not satisfied with the November nuts, the thing expanded even more, to encompass a summer camp theme in April, when a smaller number of hopeless cases get together in virtual cabins to cheer each other on to complete a writing goal. Not necessarily a novel, nor 50 000 words, but still something that needs commitment – in every sense of the word.
I love the atmosphere of merry lunacy that pervades the effort. The days tick away, the mountain of words piles up – usually at a slower rate than required, at least for me – and the final few days of the month pass in a caffeine frenzy of high output and low quality with emails and messages zinging in from all directions urging a sprint to the summit.
It is a special kind of hell for this writer. Yes, wordcounts are good. But quality and plotting and character development have a role, surely?
“No Plot? No Problem!” is the title of the official guide, and as one might expect, it stresses high-velocity novel output over anything taught in an English department.
In my own act of idiocy, I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo commencing tomorrow on the first day of April. I have yet to meet my cabin-mates – I don’t think they will be assigned for a few more hours – but I am sure we will get along famously and our hut of smut will be buzzing and rocking along nicely.
Expect updates throughout the month. I’ve chosen a challenging topic of love in a land where love is forbidden; at least for unmarried tourists. How will my characters evade the sex police?
My project is listed here, and I’ve chosen to make life even more difficult for myself by publishing as I go. In a month where I have significant international travel commitments. I tell myself I’ll write on the plane where I have no other distractions, and that never works out well. This time it will be different.
In all fairness, Camp NaNoWriMo isn’t as much a challenge as the erotica writer’s schedule outlined earlier of 2 500 words a day, two shorts every week with Sundays off, and a chunky collection of stories at the end of the month.
In theory, 1 700 words a day is all I need. I hope you will all be rooting for me! And maybe joining in the frenzy.
Image by Britni Pepper