Sunday, December 28, 2008

What I Learned from National Novel Writing Month

By Vikki Perry

I’m exhausted and invigorated at the same time. November, the National Novel Writing Month, is complete and I have a good start to what I think could be a great manuscript someday.
Here are a few of the things that I learned this year.

1. The first time around wasn’t a fluke. In November 2007, I “won” Nanowrimo and completed my first manuscript, a 52,000 word opus that is unlikely to see the light of day. Even still, I was so proud of myself for writing the words “The End.” While I haven’t written the words “The End” for this manuscript, I am proud that I wrote over 50,000 words in the month of November.

2. This time, I’m not writing a 50,000 word novel. I knew this when I was plotting the book, but it was still a surprise when I reached my first turning point at 25,000 words.

3. That I love being around writers. At one of the first write-ins, we introduced ourselves by name and body count. I’m not sure of the total number of characters killed, but it was at least 20 people and one earthworm.

4. That there are young writers. Before I participated in NaNoWriMo 2007 and 2008, I wondered if there were any younger people writing books. Through NaNoWriMo, I have met a ton of young and talented writers. As a reader, I am relieved about the future of publishing.

5. That seven month old babies and eyeglasses do not mix well. OK, so I didn’t learn this one from Nanowrimo, but I learned that not being able to see adds an unwelcome layer of complexity to the challenge.

6. That I will miss having a daily goal and people to cheer me on to the finish line. The best thing about Nanowrimo is the community of people. Everyone is working towards the same goal and doing everything they can to drag each other across the finish line. At the write-ins, we do timed word wars (everyone writing as many words as they can in 15 minutes). We set word goals and then reward ourselves. This year one of the participants offered to buy movie tickets for the first four people to reach 30,000 words by November 21. In addition to this, one of the other participants offered to buy candy at the movies for the people that reached the 30K if they also reached 40K. We had three people reach 40,000 words by November 21st. I was amazed and delighted to be a part of such a supportive group. I’m already looking forward to next year.

No comments: