According to my NaNo stats, this will be my seventh year participating in the popular writing challenge. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. For fledgling novelists, the stats seem almost impossible to achieve, but if you break it down, 1,667 words a day is manageable. If you're willing to commit, that is.
I'm friends with authors and they don't all write novels. (Or, in NaNo's case, short novels.) Some are poets, others screenplay writers. But some have expressed a desire to write a novel. Indeed, they've started plotting one or have even completed it. Finishing a manuscript is a feat unto itself and anyone who reaches that milestone should be applauded.
But what of those who can't seem to get beyond "taking notes" and yet never advance on their novel? I've tried to convince a friend to sign up for NaNo. If nothing else, it would help give her the push she needs. We've discussed her story, but I think she's come to rely too much on planning and still isn't quite sure how to approach the actual writing.
Is it fear? Hard to say. Many aspiring novelists probably fear that if the first line isn't perfect, the rest of the story will hobble behind and eventually collapse upon itself. Trust me, stories can be revised. I hate the beginning of my current UF. Hate it. But I plowed on ahead and continued with the revisions. The beginning will take care of itself. I just need to spend some time away from it. (Not to mention, I've changed it so much, I couldn't even tell you how the story originally started.)
So what am I writing for this year's NaNo? A phantasmagorical type of story, one inspired by the cons I've attended. Do I have any idea of my plot or characters? Only a vague one. Why worry? I have two weeks to plan this thing. Of course, I say that every year and then before I know it, it's November 1.
But I've got faith. After all, out of six NaNo attempts, I've won four. Not bad odds.
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