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07 October 2007 @ 06:09 pm
My mom thinks she can stop me from doing NaNo  
Hey, you. Yes, you--you with the big backpack, the messenger bag, the armload of books--yes. You.

Ever wanted to write a novel?

I know: you're having a hard time just keeping up with homework, you're in a play, you're at pep band every weekend, your friends would laugh at you, you've never written anything that wasn't for a school assignment before, you don't have the motivation, you don't even have a plot.

So what?

Okay, so some of these are valid problems. But the last few aren't. November is NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--and you don't need a plot, or characters, or any idea of what you're going to write beyond the first sentence. Or even the first sentence.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to reach 50,000 words in 30 days. This may seem impossible at first. But it's only about 1,667 words to write each day, and those can be one thousand, six hundred and sixty-seven words of dialogue, bad-romance-novel descriptions, car chases, dreams about marshmallows, and ninjas. It doesn't have to make sense; it just has to be.

You see, this is the first draft. Plot, character development, logic--those are things for revisions.

Last year, over 70,000 people participated. That's a lot of people, and they're all going through the same things you are--they juggle work, children, high school, and/or college in addition to writing. Through the website, nanowrimo.org, you can find fellow novelists with whom to compete and commiserate. Annoying family home for Thanksgiving? Check. Taking the SAT? Check. (A hint: use your vocabulary words in the story.) Writing essays for classes? Check--and you can even sneak these into your novel. ("Dan walked down the road. He had a sudden urge to speak on the matter of King James' War in colonial America: its causes, practices, and effects...")

If you want it to, and have enough time, your novel can make sense, but it's not a requirement. You can use writing as procrastination for homework, and homework to procrastinate on writing.

Ask your English teacher if you can get extra credit for doing it if you finish, or even if you don't. Lock yourself in your room; tell your parents not to bother you; make yourself tea, or coffee. Sit down on a couch, or at a desk: with a computer, or with a notebook.

Are you there? Are you ready?

Here's a first line for you: "It was a dark and stormy night..."

(Please note that the SW Anchor is not responsible for any forgotten homework, failed tests, grade drops, or broken relationships that may come about as a result of attempting to write a novel in a month. Thank you.)