Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Surviving 30 days of noveling

How to make it through National Novel Writing Month

Setting out to write a novel is a daunting task: you have to come up with characters, plots, settings, themes. And then there’s the ultimate obstacle of actually sitting down and writing it. Yet for the last several years, come every November 1st, thousands of people have not only given it a shot, they've tried to do it in a single month.

That’s National Novel Writing Month in a crazy-sounding nutshell. The premise is simple enough: write 50,000 words of a novel between November 1st and November 30th. It doesn't have to be finished. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be 50,000 words. If writing a novel under normal circumstances is a marathon, then NaNoWriMo is more like a sprint that just happens to go on for 26.2 miles.

While you may not be able to produce The Great American Novel, Part II in just thirty days, that’s not really the point of NaNoWriMo. It’s an excuse, a reason to actually sit down and translate that story you've always wanted to tell from thoughts and half-cooked ideas into actual words and, at the risk of getting ahead of ourselves, sentences.

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