Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Birth of a Novel

So it's almost that time of year again.

In six days thousands of would-be novelists will be sitting down at their desks, their local coffee joint, and or the library to start writing their novel for National Novel Writer's Month, or NaNo for short. 

The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. That's about 1666 words a day.

And yes, it's an arbitrary goal. Yes, 50K is way too short for almost all genres to be considered a novel. Yes, in December agents get flooded with tons of queries for half finished novels. These are all valid criticisms of NaNo. But you know, there's going to be a lot amateurs, for lack of a better word, in any profession. People who don't realize how long a novel should be, or how to write a proper query letter. Heck, I was an amateur not too many years ago myself. I wrote two books in high school, neither of them complete, and stopped around 150K. I had no idea how long a novel should be.

But you live and learn, and I enjoy the camaraderie of NaNo. It's a great community and I enjoy the forums. The first novel I ever finished I wrote for NaNo. It's a good way to kick yourself in the pants and make sure you met daily deadlines, an extremely important skill a professional writer needs to have. I also enjoy egging on my other friends who are participating. I write novels during months other than November and it's generally a very solitary process. November allows me to share the insanity.

So this year I will share the insanity with you. That's right; I am going to live blog my progress. I haven't decided whether or not I am going to blog every single day in November. On one hand, it might get boring. On the other hand, depending on how quickly my sanity unravels, you might want to bring popcorn. So we'll see how it goes. At the very least it will be an interesting social experiment.

Also, I write the novel until it's complete, so the Birth of a Novel will bleed over into December, and maybe even January. I'll post my stats, my thoughts, overall novel progress, and hot chocolate intake (caffeine is out due to being pregnant, aka having a belly ninja, so liquid chocolate shall be my substitute). 

If you are in the process of writing a novel or about to start and want to join in the madness, please feel free. You can post links to your blog in the comments, or contact me via email and I can link to your blog directly in the post. 

This will either be interesting or you're all going to run in fear from me when the insanity of writing a novel starts to leak out.


  1. I had a roommie who did NaNo every year and liked it a lot. For some reason, I've never gotten into it. I just don't like having my pace relegated to me :) I know it would be super good for me, though, so maybe...

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  2. Great idea Elizabeth! You should make a button for it and we can form a blog chain. Once a week we all post our "Birth of a Novel" progress. Or more than once?

    Eh, just thinking out loud. :)

  3. Sarah: I should blog about this, but I think NaNo should be used to help you, not hinder you. If you want to lower the word count or raise it, or skip a day, I think you should go right ahead with that. I just use it as a tool to motivate me, but I do it within my comfort level.

    Charity: Ooooo I should do that! I need to figure out how to do a button and a blog chain. I should email me you for suggestions. :D

  4. It's a GOOD thing you aren't due in November. "Wait, my water can't have broken. I still have 5000 words to go..."

    I'm not planning to do Nano this year. Too many other things working on my brain, and I want to put some effort into a non-fiction collaboration I'm working on with a friend.

    But good luck (and no sanity) to those who do!

  5. Linda: LMAO! Yes, it's a very good thing indeed! "Just a little longer, Connor! Momma needs to get her word count in for the day!" I could write while in labor though. :D

    Ahem. Good luck with your projects as well!

  6. Depends how "in labor" you are. Parts of my (very long) labor I could not have done any writing. And my mom had 3-4 hour labors. Not much time.