Monday, October 24, 2011

Do You NaNo?

by Jemi Fraser

November means a lot of things to a lot of people—fall is over and winter's setting in, it's Thanksgiving in the US, shopping season begins if you celebrate Christmas (and you're more organized than I am) and it's report card season for teachers like me. For writers it also means NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.

It's the month when a bunch of crazies writers, decide to write a 50k novel in 30 days. That's an average of 1667 words a day, every day for the entire 30 days of November.

So, why in the world would anyone want to do it? What's the incentive? Fun, fellowship, and that competitive push that won't let you take a night off. There are prizes too. Once you've registered your 50k at the end of the month, you can claim your prizes: splendiferous blog badges, glorious certificates you can print off, and ... pride! Not so much in the monetary value department, but important nonetheless.

There are rules for NaNo. You can't start the novel until November 1st. You can outline, plot, write character sketches, research and think as hard as you like, but you can't write a word until the 1st. Sadly, as a pantster I do none of those things. In fact last year I had no intention of doing NaNo. I was knee deep in edits for another story and wanted to focus on that. But, when I sat down to write on November 1st, it wasn't my old story I wrote, it was a SNI (shiny new idea) that burst into my head as I typed. I hadn't plotted a thing or even planned a character. But that first sentence jumped out of my fingers and I was off with the other crazies writers.

At the moment, I'm revising another story (last year's NaNo story in fact). I feel like I'm getting near the finish line with it. I want to keep focusing on it. Which means I won't be doing NaNo this year.

Probably...

So if you want to friend me over at the NaNo site, I'm jemifraser. See ya there!

60 comments:

Trisha said...

I'm doing NaNo, and I intend to be finished with round 5 of revisions on a prior NaNo story before Nov 1st rolls around. I then get to send that out to a beta reader for the first time, and spend November focused on writing new stuff! I can't wait.

Jemi Fraser said...

Trisha - sending your stuff to a beta reader is such a thrill!! It's a great idea to focus on a new one while it's out of your control too! Good luck with it all! :)

Journaling Woman said...

I tried it one year and lasted 5 days and quit.

I wish you much luck!

Teresa

Jemi Fraser said...

Teresa - it's not for everyone! It's a terrible time of year for me, but I keep getting sucked in! :)

DL Hammons said...

A LOT of writers do NaNo...but I'm not one of them. It doesn't suit my style of writing, and frankly I don't need an artificial motivation to write. But I've heard some amazing success stories about NaNo results, so it works for a lot of people!

Calista Taylor said...

I've never done NaNo, either. It would only get me half way through one of my novels at their typical length, and to be honest, I write or edit every day anyway. But I do know many who swear by it. Best of luck to those tackling the challenge!!

Yvonne Osborne said...

No, I never have participated in NaNo. But you make me want to. I have always wanted to do my own thing at my own plodding pace, so maybe I should NaNo! Hmmm, lots of things in the fire but Nov. does begin the slowing-down season. And maybe I could retrieve a couple of shorts I want to submit from a NaNo shenanigan. We'll see. If I go over to the dark side I will friend you first!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm not participating because I'm finishing off my current wip to send to beta readers, haven't finished planning my next project, and will be away for a week during November, and trying to catch up for that week would suck. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I did NaNo last year (with a detailed outline, because that's just me) and wrote CassaFire during that time.

Old Kitty said...

Ooooh never say never!! But glad that you had a great time last year!! Yay for SNIs!!!

p.s. I won;t be participating but I've taken my cheerleader's outfit out of the closet and will be waving my pompoms to all you brave and wonderful souls embarking on this journey! Yay again!

Take care
x

Lynn said...

I just signed on. I am going to try NaNo this year. I'm not sure what I will accomplish but I hope at least to develop a habit of writing daily which has been a challenge for me. Thanks for leading me to this decision today!

catwoods said...

I'll join you, Jemi and Trisha. I love NaNo and have finished a novel every year since I joined. I always make sure I've tied up loose ends in the writing world before November 1st strikes, so I don't feel guilty for indulging in this simple pleasure.

I also write other novels throughout the year, but even then, the longest it's ever taken to write a rough draft is 26 days. I guess the adrenaline rush of starting a SNI is what I do best--NaNo or not.

Best luck to all you Wrimos!

I'm lexicon over there if you need an extra pompom shake or two.

LD Masterson said...

I so want to do Nano this year. Got a story taking shape that I could have ready to start. But I'm also at the point of getting feedback on my completed WIP from beta-readers and crit partners right now and I know I need to stay focused on that. Oh, the agony of indecision.

Jemi Fraser said...

DL - I don't know why I love Nano so much - I'm not really a competitive person! But I've gotten 3 novels out of it, so I think I may try again!

Calista - I write at least a bit everyday too, but somehow during Nov I get more done! :)

Yvonne - hope to see you on the dark side! I think I'll have to think about this project at least a little bit before next week!

Stina - you're right! I can't even imagine trying to catch up a whole week! When I miss a day I panic!

Alex - now there's a success story to motivate folks! Can't wait for CassaFire to be out! :)

Old Kitty - I'll be needing those pompoms so I'll be looking for you!

Lynn - yay! Hope we both get through it!!

Cat - Nano really gives me a push - although my problems lie more in the editing field, rather than the drafting one! So many ideas...

Linda - that's exactly where I was last year! I caved and ended up with a better story out of it. Not that I'm trying to pressure you or anything... :)

JO said...

Best of luck to everyone giving it a go - I'll be cheering you all on from the sidelines.

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks Jo! We can use all the cheering we can get!! :)

VR Barkowski said...

I've done NaNo the last two years, but this year, like you, I'm editing and want to focus on finishing last year's NaNo project.

It's a little bit sad, because I do have a SNI I would love to explore.

Riya said...

Best of luck to everyone giving it a go. I'll be cheering you all on from the sidelines.

Jemi Fraser said...

VR - I really shouldn't do NaNo - not at all. But, I'll probably be drawn into the excitement! :)

Riya - thank you! We'll be needing that cheering in a couple of weeks!!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I'm in, just as I have been for the last three years, but this year I'm pushing hard to win.

However, I will say this. As someone who didn't win the last three years, it is amazing what happens in the process - however long it is - to me as a writer. There's not much that triggers my creativity like NaNo.

Jemi Fraser said...

Tasha - I know how you feel! There's something about the community spirit that gives me a real booost!

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm really looking forward to NaNoWriMo this year--I had a blast last year, which was the first time I did it. :)

Great post!

Lynda R Young said...

Yep, I'll be doing NaNo again this year. I've been busy writing up my outline for Novemeber. I love the motivation NaNo gives me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Golden Eagle - yay!! This will be my 4th year & I'm looking forward to it too!

Lynda - woohoo! Another NaNo friend! I do envy you your outline - I have next to no idea what I'm going to be writing! And it's almost here! :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I think my comment disappeared. :(

Good luck with Nano. I've never done it, but I will one of these days.

Jemi Fraser said...

Medeia - sorry! It's so annoying when you type it all out and it disappears!

NaNo is fun! It's silly and invigorating and brings out all the joy of the first draft!

Leslie Rose said...

This will be my 3rd year of NaNo. My daughter dared me to do it since she and her fellow creative writing majors at UCI were doing it. I love the freedom and wild abandon of NaNo. Just write-write-write and let the words fly.

Jemi Fraser said...

Leslie - that's awesome! My family all think I'm nuts (at least the ones who know I write...). First drafts are my favourite part of the process - so much freedom and fun! :)

Trisha said...

I really wish the Writing Buddies system was up already! I keep finding new people to add to my list, but can't add them!

Jemi Fraser said...

Trisha - I know! They've done a great job on the site, but if I don't get to add people soon, I'm going to forget who to add! :)

Hannah Kincade said...

I was not going to a month ago but then changed my mind. I had so much fun last year and I really really want to get another draft out this year. So this is my kick in the butt. Join us.

Stephen Tremp said...

I'll be doing Nano. If I can do 25,000 words I'll be happy. Good luck to you!

Jemi Fraser said...

Hannah - I THINK I am - all this talk has me psyched up for it! The only problem is, ALL my thoughts are on the story I'm finishing up. Next to no ideas yet!

Stephen - thank you! And to you too! I've 'won' the last 3 years, so the pressure is on to complete it. But I just don't know if I will this year :)

Julie Musil said...

Yes, I'm doing it, and yes, I love it! It's so fun. I'd feel like I'm missing out on THE party of the year if I don't. Good luck to you on revisions!

Jemi Fraser said...

Julie - yay!! It really is a blast! I'm terrified that I'm going to go ahead and write this year, and I've never started a story with so little idea!! No thinking done at all :)

scubasteve4 said...

No NaNo for me. Good luck to those who are participating.

Jemi Fraser said...

Steve - thanks! We'll need all the luck ... and perseverance ... and cheering we can get! :)

WritingNut said...

I'm still thinking about it (I know, not much time left)! Still in the midst of edits, but I AM itching to start my second book.

Dawn Simon said...

I've never tried it, but maybe I will one of these years. Good luck to those who are participating!

Jemi Fraser said...

Writing Nut - I know how you feel! I haven't put any thought into the next story except 1 character name and 1 scene. Nowhere near enough for my liking! Good luck :)

Dawn - it's so much fun - but it has to be the right timing. Otherwise, it's probably just crazy!! :)

Susanne Drazic said...

Tried NaNoWriMo for the first time last year. Didn't reach the 50,000 words, so wasn't sure about doing it this year. We'll, I've gone and signed up for it again this year.

Jemi Fraser said...

Susanne - that's kind of what happened to me ... more than once! I don't think I've got a hope of finishing this year because I've done NO thinking at all this year! :)

RKlewis said...

hahaha... I'LL be there, Jemi! I'm doing it to support someone who has ALWAYS wanted to write a novel, but has never been able to take that... plunge. Heck, sometimes I think that's the BEST reason to do it! I'm looking forward to it, and will look out for you over there. Oh, and over there? I'm Noh1. :-)

Jean Oram said...

I;m still working on the story from last year's NaNo! Or maybe that was a different story! NaNo creates all sorts of issues for me. Mostly wonderful first drafts that I then don't have the time to go back and edit. Ah! It's too much of a good thing! Oh what is a gal to do?

Jemi Fraser said...

RC - awesome! I'll find you :) Good luck to your friend! It's such a thrill to write that first one. I hope it goes well!

Jean - me too - that's the one I'm trying to finish the edits on! I really thought I should sit this one out. But, I don't think I can resist ... it's NANO!!! :)

R.C. Lewis said...

That wasn't me, Jemi, it was RK (you know, our other Lewis ... Robert ... "Bones"). ;-)

I *am* planning to try it this year, too, though. :-)

Jemi Fraser said...

RC - d'uh.... Is it a good excuse that I've been home for a total of 1 hour in the last 15??? Hope so! Sorry guys! :) I'll find my brain and do better next time!!

Lola Sharp said...

I love doing Nano. I work best under pressure/on deadline. And it's fun! :)

Also, I've done Nano the last 4 years (this will be my fifth year), and I've won every year. And not once, NOT ONCE, did I have a clue about what I would write. Nov. 1st came and I sat down and just wrote. (Pantsers unite! SOlidarity, sistah!)
BUT, this year, and we shall see if this curses me, I have an idea. Something that's been festering and niggling for years. Just the idea and a MC and a setting. I don't know any other characters (and hell, I don't really know the MC, just her age and skills). Nothing solid or written or planned, just an idea in my head. But that's a lot for me. I hope it isn't the kiss of death. ;)

I wish the site would get our Buddy Lists functioning. Grrrr.

Good luck Jemi and everyone participating!
Hugs,
Lola

Lisa Gail Green said...

Yay!!! I"m totally doing it this year! But I can't decide between two ideas. Probably the one I DIDN'T outline that woke me up in the middle of the night. He he he

Jemi Fraser said...

Lola - yay! Another pantster! :) I don't usually have anything written, but I like that niggled of an idea worming around in my brain for a week or two. I like letting my subconscious work things out. We'll see how it goes! :)

Lisa - yay! That's exactly the one that's going to force you to write it. I love when those ideas take charge and refuse to be put aside - awesome! :)

Arlee Bird said...

I am planning to NaNo, but some November happenings may throw in a kink that will make things possibly difficult. I guess I'll see.

Tossing It Out

Jemi Fraser said...

Lee - I'm worried my Nov is going to be nutty too. I've got report cards to throw into the mix and then there's that life thing... :) Good luck to you!

Theresa Milstein said...

Good luck, Jemi! I know people do it and love it, but it scared me to death! But I'll cheer all my buddies, including you!

Jemi Fraser said...

Theresa - thanks! I'm more scared than usual because my brain hasn't been percolating! I'll be counting on those cheers! :)

Michelle said...

Yay !!!
I love NaNo!
I'm signed up and ready to go.
I hope the buddy section opens soon.
I'll be posting my NaNo tips in the morning.. in around 12 hours.
x

Jemi Fraser said...

Michelle - awesome! It is disappointing that the buddy section hasn't been updated yet - hopefully soon!
I'll be needing some of those tips this year! :)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I am so amazed at the writers who do this! And especially amazed at your story of just sitting down and writing. Epic panster-ness. I like to do my own thing, but I do tend to go nuts when I'm writing and usually takes about 6 weeks for a first draft. Good luck if you do end up winging off another one this month! *admire

Jemi Fraser said...

Terry - epic pantster-ness for sure! It can drive me right around the bend, but it's also a ton of fun!! So far, I'm pretty much on track - closing in on 10 k. Still really don't know where the story's going and the characters are just full of surprises! It's fun :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Hey Jemi - has anyone else mentioned this? The link on your blog redirects to R. C. Lewis' NaNo post.
I love doing NaNo! Some people find it strange because they think it involves blurting out a lot of crappy writing but I'm a pantster and I write in NaNo-fashion anyway :-)
We're already NaNo buddies, no?

Jemi Fraser said...

Really? No - no one has mentioned that... I'll have to figure that one out. Thanks :)

I do believe we are already buddies! I always write the same way too - NaNo just makes me do it faster! :)