Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I NaNo'd Once and I'll Do It Again! (or When I Can't Knock My OCD)

Tip of the Day: Don't think that studded snow tires will be enough to get you uphill on a slushy road. That's like trying to comb hair stuck together with chewed up gum. Well, maybe that's a little too Bad Lobster, but remind me to tell you about that traumatic time on the eighth grade trip to DC when someone thought it was a good idea to throw gum on the bus....

Ah, NaNoWriMo. Every good writer knows that stands for National Novel Writing Month. And that it happens in November and you have to reach 50k words in one month. So why am I writing about this now?

Because I'm revising my first ever NaNo novel -- and loving it! So to prepare you NaNo-slackers for what you should join in, uh, 8 months, here's my Top Ten List On Why To NaNoWriMo:

1. It forces you to write [almost] every day. Which keeps your story and your characters in your mind every day -- sometimes when you don't even know you're thinking about them.

2. You're allowed to ramble. If you know me in person, you know I do this a lot. I try to keep it at a minimum on A2A so that you loyal readers won't abandon me on Wednesdays, but alas, it's something I have to work on in my writing -- except during NaNo! I'm SUPPOSED to keep rambling in order to reach 50k words! YES!

3. You can't write anything boring for too long. If you do, you'll bore yourself and not be motivated to write. So when you hit the point of describing the color of someone's brown, auburn, mahagony, burnt sienna hair for the eighth time -- WHAM-O -- throw in a prophetic nightmare, a pit bull attack, or a forbidden tattoo. Instant action, baby!

4. You can neglect your housekeeping duties. Laundy can pile! Dustbunnies and tumbleweeds unite! Goshdarnit, you have a novel to write!

5. You're so busy cranking out words, you don't obsess over your email so much. Waiting to hear back from that editor or agent on your last masterpiece? Chances are you'll cut down on refreshing your email from 5000 times a day to a mere 500!

6. You'll make friends galore. Everyone who registers on the NaNo website can form their own networks and make new friends, all of whom will understand your emails that contain, "I just wore out my dash key -- damn those run-on dashed sentences!" [For the record, I currently have to really wail on my -- key to get it to work. See (2) above.]

7. You're forced to get your story out before you overthink it. No time to rewrite yesterday's work; only time to crank out that novel that's still fresh, new, and exciting in your head.

8. You can force the story forward. Like (3) above, if you get stuck, don't stall -- just jump forward to the next scene where something happening happens.

9. It's free to join, a good trial in self-motivation, and even if you don't "win" (aka hit 50k words), you haven't lost as long since you wrote something. And when you go back to your words after November and maybe December, you'll realize you have a lot of really good salvageable stuff. Boo yeah!

10. At the end of the month, you have a plotted novel ready for revision! For me, getting the story out the first time is the hardest part. I always wish I could just download my brain into Word. But after a month of solid writing, that's almost what happened.

So now I've got a novel that I really like and that is revising up nicely! It's a very satisfying feeling to know I can work this well and this efficiently if I push myself to do so. Go NaNo!

So, who's gonna NaNo with me this November?

Deena, Miss Recently Repped

P.S. Stay tuned for Luck 'O the Query Week on A2A next week!


Rhonda Helms said...

I love NaNo. I'm game!! (Especially since that's how I met you and Kate!!)

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...'ve almost got me convinced to bite the bullet and do it next time around. This year was just impossible, but I'll have to start filing all those novel ideas so I can whip one out and start jamming come November!

How's the snow up there, btw?!

DeenaML said...

Rhonda, I'm so glad I emailed you that one day -- thanks fo Nano, we were more than just coworkers. Awwww. :)

Mary Ann, cold today, snowed this morning, but nothing like last weekend! Keep warm, and definitely Nano with us this fall! How's the research going?

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

I love NaNo. I've done it 3 times and can't wait to do it again! :)

Kate Fall said...

NaNo was great. I would definitely do it again even though I haven't revised my 2007 NaNo yet. It's only March, right? Oh, and I only got to 37,000 words. But I wrote a middle grade so I *almost* finished my novel.

We can get together a fantastic support group this year!

Emily Marshall said...

I like NaNo as well, though in retrospect I think taking my time on the last novel helped tremendously in making it a better book from the get go. So I think it depends on the book now and my ability to write in a month.

dping said...

I'm feeling a little maligned with "win" in quotes like that. After all, I admitted you were all winners. I merely suggested an incentive system beyond the immediate reward of writing. A little friendly competition adds another layer of motivation, although obviously it helps some people (such as, ahem, "correct guessers") more than others.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

The research is still going...lots to do. Have to start thinking about getting the house ready, though. May have to move. Don't know yet. I'll keep you posted. But I'm still reading!

Anonymous said...

NaNo is awesome. I have done it for four years. My 2007 NaNo was an adult novel *blushes*

DeenaML said...

Dark cloud, I think you need to do Nano next year. If you win, I'll make the Sorority Sisters stop harassing you for a week. :)

Mary Ann, good luck cleaning the house AND writing!

Jess, Laura, and Kate -- that's so great that you're already gearing up to give Nano another go!