Does a writer friend talks about NaNoWriMo, or the shortened version NaNo? Worried they are spouting lines from an ancient Mark and Mindy episode? Or you may suspect he or she is sleep deprived and jumbling words. Possible, but not the reason these mysterious terms are uttered.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. A nonprofit organization by that name exists to provide encouragement and resources for young writers. It also stands for a challenge that may or may not involve the charity. The goal — draft a novel in a month.
A month?! Novels typically weigh in near 80,000 words. Some genres are shorter. Some novels longer. That pace is almost 2,700 words per day. The point of NaNo is to pump out a draft without stopping to edit. I have a friend, Jacinta Merideth, who is posting on Facebook each day about her effort, often with a cartoon. She documents the number of words each day, as well as the frustrations that must be overcome.
No, I am not doing NaNo. (See, it sounds like a alien language, doesn’t it?) But I am trying to write my draft without stopping to edit. I’m using initials or shortened names, ignoring a lot of punctuation and throwing in lots of tags to complete later. For example, “Natan, Yael’s father wore //// A dark beard sprinkled with gray covered his face.” The //// is something I’ll add on a second pass. Or consider this glowing example of dialog I pounded out this week.
B “I wish Y were here.”
Giggle. I bet you do. Eyes dancing. I see the way you look at her.
The goal is to “get in the flow” and complete the entire draft. This is very different that the approach I took for my fist novel. My draft is extremely rough. I hesitate to describe it as “a draft.” Even with this approach, I have not written 2700 word a single day this week. I’ve also struggled to post anything here, need to work on my newsletter, need to send more queries . . . (sigh) I guess I need more coffee!