Wednesday, October 13, 2010

November is National Novel Writing Month

I am not really sure why anyone would want to create artificial barriers to writing a novel-Ok, I do. I am looking at you Oulipo Group-but if you are interested in making your writing life even harder then November 1st marks the first day of National Novel Writing Month. The simple goal of the event is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. You can find all the details at their website NaNoWriMo.org (I know, I know). However, if you are too lazy to click on over to their site, below are the 10 salient things you need to know about writing your novel. (I should add at this point that if you are too lazy to click through to their website I am not 100% how you will have the discipline to write everyday for a month and finish with a 50K monster but that's just me being an a-hole.)
1) Sign up for the event by clicking the "Sign Up Now" link at the top of the site. It's right there above "National."
2) Check your email and read the ginormous email our noveling robots send you. It will have "Love" in the subject line, and may be hiding in your Junk folder.
3) Log into your account and use the links on the My NaNoWriMo page to set your timezone, affiliate with a region, and tell us a little bit about yourself.
4) Begin procrastinating by reading through all the great advice and funny stories in the forums. Post some stories and questions of your own. Get excited. Get nervous. Try to rope someone else into doing this with you. Eat lots of chocolate and stockpile noveling rewards.
5) On November 1, begin writing your novel. Your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight, local time, on November 30th. You write on your own computer, using whatever software you prefer.
6) This is not as scary as it sounds.
7) Starting November 1, you can update your word count in that box at the top of the site, and post excerpts of your work for others to read. Watch your word-count accumulate and story take shape. Feel a little giddy.
8) Write with other NaNoWriMo participants in your area. Write by yourself. Write. Write. Write.
9) If you write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, you can upload your novel for official verification, and be added to our hallowed Winner’s Page and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web badge. We'll post step-by-step instructions on how to scramble and upload your novel starting in mid-November.
10) Win or lose, you rock for even trying.
That's all there is to it! Occasionally, participants write in to ask about the rules of the event. We don't have many! But because we've found that creativity is often heightened by constraints (and communities bolstered by shared goals) we have evolved a handful of rules over the years. The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people's works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.
So that's all there is to it.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get on over to the National Novel Writing Month website and get going.

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