I don't know how this fell to me, but I'm going to leave the humor aside for one week (and I know many of you are saying "what humor?") so I can remind faithful readers about the one time of year we all really enjoy...besides Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th and Halloween -- namely NaNoWriMo.
For those not familiar with this event, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and was started by Chris Baty back in 1999. The challenge is to write a coherent novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. It began yesterday (Nov. 1) and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30.
By that date, you'll either be beaming with a new novel or still pissed at the results of the Grambling State-Southern Bayou Classic.
Anyway, there is no actual prize associated with being a winner. Writing 50,000 words in a month and making them fit into a novel is prize enough. You do get a little banner that you can paste to your writing.com account (if you have one).
And who knows? You may find your novel getting picked up by a publisher. Think it doesn't happen? Ask Sara Gruen and her novel Water for Elephants, which hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. For a list of NaNoWriMo participants whose novels got picked up for publication, check this out.
If you should decide to participate, here's how to get started:
1) Sign on to the Internet
2) Go to www.nanowrimo.org
3) Sign up
Note: If you're one of the 60,000-plus who did this last year or the year before, use your old sign-in name, please. Otherwise, they won't remember you. They have the means to help you if you've forgotten user name and password. Also, remember that the word count will appear on your WDC page.
[caption id="attachment_3767" align="alignright" width="251" caption="Want to be the next A.M. Homes? Join NaNoWriMo"][/caption]
And don't worry if you've never written a novel before. A friend of mine wrote something about vampires, vacations and Alaska and it got published. And the writer was from Jersey, no less. So, it's not that difficult.
Anyway, here are a few helpful hints for writing 50,000 words in one month:
A) Be loose. Set aside time to write. Say about an hour a day. It can be morning, noon, night or late night. Especially a time with no distraction like kids or snoring spouses (hey, husbands can snore, too). Most importantly, write every day because, if you don't, it's like missing a day of exercise. You'll suddenly miss more and more and it will be Nov. 30 before you know it.
B) Have some flexibility. You might find yourself wanting to change directions with your novel. It might start out as a memoir of how you met your husband and then change into how you met and married husband no. 5.
C) Set goals. Now, NaNoWriMo suggests writing at least 1,667 words a day, but that's mathematical. Write what you can. You'll have days when you don't feel like writing much of anything and then there will be days when your significant other can't pry you loose from the computer. Go with the flow and just write something.
D) Wait until the end to edit if you must. Trust me, I've fallen into this trap too many times in the past. Think of NaNoWriMo like the SATs. With tests, you answer all the questions and, if you have time left, you go back over them. With your novel, write until it's done. Then, if it's not quite 11:59 p.m. on the 30th, go back and browse through it. (one exception to this hint: please use Spellcheck and Grammarcheck).
Also, here are a couple of books, including one by Chris Baty himself, on how to write a novel in 30 days (both available on Amazon.com):
[caption id="attachment_3764" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="By Chris Baty"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_3765" align="alignright" width="150" caption="by Victoria Lynn Schmidt"][/caption]
Special note: The winner of the Halloween novel contest is Kris M. Kris, if you would please review my last blog and pick a title from the list, I will have that sent to you post-haste. Just leave a comment on this week's blog when you decide and then we'll go about exchanging info offline so I can order it.