November is National Novel Writing Month - and an international writing group challenges its members to do just that during the thirty days of each November. There is no fee to join NaNoWriMo and anyone with a desire to work that long-dormant novel out of their system is encouraged to become a member and chase the dream. People who accept the challenge are expected to crank out a novel of 50,000 words or more between November 1st and 30th.
NaNoWriMo is divided into many geographic regions, each with several thousand members. While I have never chosen to participate in the group's annual challenge, I did officially join the Japan region several years ago while I was living in the Orient. Being a member gets me onto their email list, and it is an annual reminder that life is slipping away without benefit of the powerful novel that I always intended to write. This year I am once again thinking of taking the challenge. I have been studying the group's materials and writing tips on their website, as well as digging into advice from other members.
NaNoWriMo has several regions within the United States.
In addition to offering a constant stream of support, NaNoWriMo monitors each writer's progress through the self-reporting of word counts. At the end of the challenge writers are invited to post their work on the group's website. Writers can also offer support to one another through the website. A local coffee house in my community features an array of books by local authors, and I happened to notice that a couple of those on display had received awards from NaNoWriMo.
Fifty thousand words is a lot to crank out in thirty days - although I have probably hit that mark with this blog during some thirty-day spreads. For me to be successful at the project, I would need a story idea, an overall outline, a scene-by-scene outline, and summaries of the main characters which detail their motivations, histories, and quirks - all prior to facing that first blank page of the novel. In other words, a minimum of two weeks of pre-novel work - which would begin about tomorrow!
With that self-imposed deadline looming, I may do some pre-pre-novel work today.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!
If anyone would like to join me in this rigorous bout of self-flagellation, the website is nanowrimo.org. Who knows - maybe this time next year we'll be signing books at Barnes and Noble!