Monday, 15 September 2014

NaNoWriMo - My Opinions

So, with NaNoWriMo only a month and a half away, people may have started planning their NaNo novels. I know I have! So, this isn't going to be a lengthy article on why one should or shouldn't use NaNo as a method of writing, but rather a short opinionated post!

First of all, let's just all agree that NaNoWriMo teaches us to cram write. By that, I mean a similar notion to cramming before an exam. You get as much done as possible in a short time, which is universally accepted as the wrong way to study. So surely it can't be a good way to write?

Well it teaches us the rule of deadlines which in the real world, exist. Whether at college or simply trying to meet a personal goal, this is certainly important, but if you're rushed, quality can drop. Not many people type quickly and not many people can devote twelve hours a day to NaNoWriMo. So if you type 40 words a minute, you'll need solid hours to get the 50k done. Unless you write garbage, add too much detail and go overboard on adverbs. 
Now, I write over one hundred a minute, which leaves me in the rare and hardly attainable grey area of folk who write a lot, spew less crap and get the 50k done quickly. We're a rare breed, but does that mean we write better? Not at all. Everyone doing NaNo has taken part in at least one word war, and you cram your ass off.

This proves that cram writing makes you write garbage. But so what? Well, after the month is over, people find it super hard to get out of that horrible writing routine! What makes it worse is that people also compete in the Camp months, which span three whole months! If someone took place in all four months per year, including Script Frenzy, they probably wouldn't even see anything wrong with their writing.

But there's some light at the end of the tunnel! NaNWriMo helps people finally get the first draft done. Agents need to hear that, because there's no hope in an unfinished novel - nobody wants to invest in it on a whim. Why? Because most people start a book and never finish it. That sucks for agents who put faith in people to never get a turn around.

Yet nobody sees fifty thousand as a good goal to aim for. Why? Because fifty thousand is not a novel, no matter what they tell you. Fifty thousand is a novella. Double the 50k, and you might get yourself a novel. By that standard, you would have to do two months of NaNoWriMo, and get over 50k both months, with both months focused on the same novel.
That's a long time to cram right, and lots of people get bored with the NaNoWriMo within three weeks, so how can someone manage to get 100k?

The trick is to get as close to 100k in a month as possible, and the totally attainable goal of only 50k in 30 days is the kick start you need! My novel, Crows Among Doves, has been in the works for over four years. That's four years of "getting it done one day", and NaNoWriMo was the kick in the ass I needed. Not that it's at novel stage yet, it's only 40k now after editing, but the important thing is that it's nearly done! The story has progressed, and even with all it's glorious typos, it's mainly done! I am proud of myself and aim to get 40k done in this November to add to the final stage of my novel.

If you're interested in a third of the garbage I spewed out in Camp NaNoWriMo, you can find it on Smashwords for $1.20 (it's my hardwork, but I am perfectly happy to give people coupons to get it free if you will do a review)! You can get it: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/452855

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