National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.
- About, NaNoWriMo
Regular readers of this blog will notice that during the month of November, the amount of posts I put out are considerably less in number than the other eleven months. The reason for this is something call National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, which when you think about it and because it's on the internet, makes about as much sense a square boxing ring. The truth is that during this last month, I've generated more than 50,000 words in just novel writing alone.
You'd think that writing a novel would be less taxing than writing blog posts of the nature that I do but this isn't the case. Even when writing a novel, there still has to exist a sense of internal logic and if you are going to tie events together in a narrative, there exists a degree of internal continuity that you have to worry about.
Even though writing a novel means that I basically get to throw insane amounts of gibberish at the wall, it has to be sufficiently sticky enough gibberish to hold together. If you have a failure to hold things together then all you end up with is a mess.
Almost always, the first ten thousand words are the most difficult for me. Even if I have all manner of plot points mapped out and enough plot coupons to cash them all in at the end of the story, so much of novel writing is about painting word pictures and I find myself writing and rewriting things over and over. By about the twenty thousand word mark, the characters are usually well formed enough that I can play with them a bit and by the end, I'm usually so utterly sick of them that I never want to heat from them again.
If you think that novel writing sounds like a daunting task, remember that at 50,000 words, that's only 1667 words a day. If you only write on weekdays then 2000 words a day plus bursts is more than adequate to fall over the line within the month. 50,000 words is enough to produce about 180 pages of dense type in a small paperback size of 5" x 8" and so when compared to something like Tolstoy, its pretty paltry. 50,000 words is not even ten percent of some of the great Russian classics.
This was the third novel that I've written and I must say that it was easily the least enjoyable to write. The story itself which involves a time travel plot in which history's greatest monsters are all kidnapped and put into an orphanage before they grow up, did mean that I had a considerable degree of freedom to waffle on but by the end, I kind of grew tired of the principal characters and found them tedious to write for. Although having said that, even if it wasn't necessarily enjoyable to write, I still have a glorious prize of a 50,000 word novel at the end of it all. Even as I write this blog piece on 30th November, I'm already thinking about next year's novel.
I must admit that I'm not exactly the most brilliant artist in the world, I have the mechanical aptitude of a jellyfish and so spinning a spanner is not exactly my forte, I'm rather incompetent at any sort of DIY project and so writing is pretty much the only sort of thing I show any real skill at. It must also be said that I think that if my cookery skills are anything to go by, my ancestors must've caused the Great Fire of London in 1666 - it was started in a bakery and the last building on fire was in Pudding Lane. I bet that I'm sufficiently rubbish enough in the kitchen that I could manage to burn cereal somehow.
This year, the novel that I fashioned together is called "The Evil Baby Orphanage" gets its title and indeed its general premises from a series of Vlogbrothers videos* in which the Brothers Green discussed whether or not it was ethical to go back in time and kill baby Hitler. Of course baby Hitler who hasn't yet committed any atrocities can not be held guilty for what has not yet been and so they arrived at the conclusion that it was better to kidnap baby Hitler and 'prehabilitate' him. The argument goes that if you put him in conditions which would have produced a better life, then he wouldn't have grown up to be evil. I spin the concept through several degrees of bonkers from there.
I do of course realise that the only potential reader of my rubbish is me and yet, I'm fine with that. Even when I blurt a thousand or so words into this blog, unless someone from the ABC or Fairfax wants to employ me (hint hint hint) then really everything I've written is like yelling into a void and you dear reader just happen to be along for the ride.
If you expect the world you'll be disappointed but if you expect literally nothing then anything at all is a bonus.
Realistically, there are thousands upon thousands of hack writers out there who throw billions upon billions of words of gibberish at the wall hoping that they stick. The sad truth for most writers; even published ones is that there are many many books that appear in bookstores and most of them are pulped. So much of the publishing world only amounts to vanity and so the obvious question which arises from this is which does anyone bother at all? If most writers know that they are yelling into a cacophony of sound, or pouring water into the ocean, then the task of writing anything substantial is mostly pointless.
I think that most writers know that they are like a wildflower in the bush before being wiped out by a bushfire. Flame fronts pass and leave no trace at all of what was there but that's true for most people in any endeavour who have ever lived.
We don't write for the fame and ovation of the people forever because quite frankly, that's incredibly rare. We write for the same reason that Hilary went up Mount Everest - because it is there.
Something has to be done with this Evil Baby Orphanage idea but I don't know what to do with it.
- John Green, 14th May 2007
If you do want to throw money at me - feel free:
If you do want to throw money at me - feel free: