Guess Who’s NOT Invited to Participate in NaNoWriMo?

This blog might be a little on the quiet side for the month of November, as I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s known in the writing community, NaNoWriMo.

The goal of NaNoWriMo (other than having an obnoxious acronym) is to write a 50,000 word (175 page) novel by November 30. It takes a certain level of insanity to accomplish this, but it is doable. Over 35,000 people accomplished this goal during the 2011 NaNoWriMo.

Let’s be honest. A novel created in thirty days is going to reek of dingleberries. But that’s sort of the point. Because of the ticking clock, you have to crank out an average of 1,700 words a day. There’s no time for that pesky inner editor to criticize your purple prose or your character’s motivation. Besides, true writing happens in the revisions, anyway.

For me, writing my very first draft was like opening a door to a world I never knew existed. The words flowed like magic. While most of those words weren’t any good, I didn’t care because I was having so much fun.

Now, after multiple revisions, immersing myself in writing workshops, critique groups, and finding out how bloody hard it is to get published, I’ve learned a few things. The inner editor who lurks inside me sits there with her red sharpie, dying to tell me that the sentence I’ve written doesn’t move the story forward. She points out all the things I’m doing wrong, reminding me that agents and editors are so inundated, if my first page doesn’t sparkle with brilliance and a unique voice, they won’t get to page two. My inner editor is well aware of the components of a successful novel – compelling characters, intriguing plot, inciting incident. Macro and micro tension. High stakes. Themes. Subplots. A crisis, climax and satisfying resolution. Character arcs. Limited backstory. Original metaphors. No cliché. Internal and external conflict. It’s crazy-making.

I’m not trying to bash my inner editor. I’m glad she knows stuff, and it comes in handy with my critique partners and during revisions. But if I listen to her when I’m drafting, she’ll sap the life right out of the creative process.

That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo. Thanks to the looming deadline and the necessity of churning out so many words a day, there’s simply no room for that inner editor.

I’m excited to jump into a brandy-new manuscript. My current MS (WRECTIFY) is sitting on my agent’s desk, hoping for the chance to go out on submission in the near future. That whole process and the lack of control involved is also crazy-making, so immersing myself in NaNoWriMo is very appealing. The working title of my new project is LUNA PARK, and it’s about a haunted amusement park. For you Denver folks, think Lakeside on the dark side. Aren’t you curious about what’s inside this tower? I can’t wait to write about it. And guess what, inner editor? You’re not invited. Neener, neener, neener!

 Anyone else out there doing NaNo? 




23 thoughts on “Guess Who’s NOT Invited to Participate in NaNoWriMo?

  1. BETH – – – I’m hoping the title will be : Melba & Mildred take their litters to Cooney Dam.
    Then a natural transition to a series with: Melba & Mildred do Yellowstone. Since you’re
    not 70 you might ask that old cowboy neighbor of yours for help and it would truly all
    be fiction.

  2. OOO, I LOVE that your inner editor stays silent, AND that you get to focus on a whole month of just creation, tis the beauty of the art, isn’t it?? Enjoy your November! Can’t wait to hear about the haunting of Lakeside, it is a little creepy even in the daylight, isn’t it? hugs from afar…

    • Let’s hope she stays silent. That’s the plan, at least. Yes, Lakeside is on the spooky side even in the daytime. Imagine being the last one there after it closes, sweeping up, shutting out the lights… makes me shiver!

      Hugs right back!

  3. I would have trouble doing Nano because of my inner editor too. As it is, my schedule is off so I won’t be doing it this year. The planets are never aligned the right way!

  4. Beth,
    This will be my second NaNo. I managed to crank out a 53,000-word first draft last year. It is a great experience and I urge everyone to try it. Connect with your regional group through the NaNo website. A side benefit is you will meet a lot of nice writers in your region. Good luck to you.

  5. I’m totally with you – the book really DOES come together in revisions, doesn’t it? (Not to mention the craziness of being on submission. But that’s another post entirely!) Good luck with NaNoWriMo. I’m revising this month, but will be with you in spirit.

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