Every November, tens of thousands of people sign up for National Novel Writing Month and attempt to write a 50,000-word novel. Baty, the brains behind this competition, has produced an uproariously funny motivational manifesto so readers can get a leg-up in his race or in the larger publishing game.
What I valued the most of this book was the normalization of the process, outlined week by week...the energy, the doubts, the hopelessness. But, he also gently offers ways to deal with those challenges that inspire the novelist. A lot of writing books offer good advice. But this book condenses to what is necessary for the NaNoWrimo-er. See you in November!
I had decided that this year, instead of writing a new novel, I would use the month to edit my existing non-fiction book (NaBoEdMo). But reading this book has me fired up again. It would be good to write another novel. This book talks about the genesis of the NaNoWriMo Challenge, and the pitfalls. It walks you through the process, and the problems. But it does not give you a plot. It gives you a mental attitude of excitement and charging up your creativity. November starts next week. I have some half-formed characters and attitudes swirling in my head.... after reading this, I'm thinking I should go for it. Recommended.
50,000 words that were written is such haste that they should be scrapped and rewritten isn't much progress towards writing a novel... unless of course it helps get you over some kind of fear factor or other writing inhibition.
The world is saturated with reading material at the moment. It doesn't need your novel. Everyone could stop writing today, and we'd still have more literature than anyone could possibly read in a lifetime. The world doesn't need more books. Which doesn't mean I don't think good books aren't important or valuable. But I'd rather see someone take five years to craft a true masterpiece than slap out something in a month and try to hoist on an unsuspecting public. If you can write good stories that fast, more power to you, but you are a rare person.
On the other hand people writing for the joy and challenge of it is a cool thing. NaNoWriMo has helped breed a community of writers who compete with, support, and challenge each other.
I'd like to see more emphasis on quality and stronger participation in the follow up Editing challenge. Because while you may not need to start out with a fully formed plot, you do need to end up with one, or all you've accomplished is a high word count.
The only thing that irritates me is that the sidebar articles are written in black on dark grey. I'm 25; I should not be getting eyestrain yet!
Also written in a way that had me giggling out loud a lot.