1. paisley
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    paisley New Member

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    a novel in a month...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by paisley, Sep 22, 2012.

    A friend of mine participates in a one-month-long novel writing challenge every year. I like the idea of the encouragement and excitement that the program offers, but I can't help but wonder if that is a "healthy" way of writing or not. Since I am just starting my first novel, I'd love to get things going with a program like that...I'm just not sure how writing in such a rushed way might affect the organic creativity of the art itself. Would love to hear your feedback!
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I've heard of this, and I know that a lot of folks on this forum participate and swear by it. But it wouldn't do anything for me. I get little enough time to work on my projects, and this would just be a month-long distraction with little hope of producing something useful.
     
  3. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I think Nano is particularly good for those who've never completed a first draft of a novel; it at least proves that you can work through it and write THE END on the last page. But without a solid outline it's probably not going to produce a novel worth reading.
     
  4. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    NaNoWriMo, as the challenge is called, has millions of participants every year.

    It's a healthy way to write. "Organic creativity" is something no writer should worry about. Worry about finishing your first draft. Once that is done, then you can let the art flow through the form of editing.
     
  5. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    To be honest, it all depends on the writer. For me i dislike it cause i don't like cramming words together in "time" to complete it and THEN fix it after all this work. It's just not me. But you should try it out regardless. But i'm just saying in terms for a writer such as me.
     
  6. Danvok
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    Danvok Senior Member

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    I'm going to try this for the first time this year!

    I think it'll just create a very rough, planning sort of draft that can be used to make something better. However, a lot of editing would be required. It might be a little rushed but I think that you'll have the bare bones to create a story.
     
  7. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    I did it a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun. I 'won', which gives you a sig you can use on message boards. Which I of course did since I was pretty happy about it.

    Didn't do anything with what I wrote but enjoy it for myself. I did go back to polish it up and every now and then go and revisit it. I'm toying with the idea of trying it again this year, but we'll see. If I finish the final edits on my book then yes, if not, then no.
     
  8. Michele
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    Michele New Member

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    I think for a new writer it would be an invaluable experience. You will learn a lot about what it means to write a novel and about your own writing style. You may find that writing fast and furious is the best approach for you or you may find that it sucks eggs, but in the end you will have a finished draft which many people never get to. That is a major hurdle, even if the result may not be suitable for submission for a Pulitzer.

    Everyone can point to a a first time novelist who gets it right and hits the big time, but for every fluke like that there are thousands of writers who take time to develop their craft, and getting through the first manuscript to the end and learning along the way with built-in deadlines is an opportunity not to be missed. So if you can give up your dream of hitting the lottery with the first thing you write and commit to making the most of it, I think an accelerated writing program like this would definitely be worthwhile.

    I checked the nanowrimo site if that is the program you are using, and the next challenge starts in Nov so you even have time to do some research and outlining or character sketches/timelines in advance if you want to.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I tried it a couple years ago. It was worth investing a month to discover that it was not the right process for me.
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I did one in a little over a month but it was because I wrote an average of 3k words a day. Some way less and some more
     
  11. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    I've never participated in it, and I don't think it's likely that I ever will. It might be a very good exercise for people who struggle with getting started on a book because they overthink and paralyze their process. When you set word count goals for yourself and race to get the story down on paper, I suspect it's probably a liberating thing because it gets the writing process started.

    So if it's something that interests you and that you think you might benefit from doing, by all means go for it!

    It doesn't really fit the way I write; I tend to treat each chapter as its own small story, moving the characters and larger story line forward at the same time. Lots of non-writing "think time" before writing the chapter and a good bit of fine-tuning before moving on to the next chapter. So my own process is slower and more deliberate, and I'd never get very far in the month-long write-a-thon.

    But I do think there is something to be said for getting the words down on paper, even if the results are pretty rough at the end of the month. Plus, you might get some cool ideas and characters you fall in love with.
     
  12. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've done it for a couple of years and it's always been worthwhile. The trick is to do it with people. There's an official website where you can sign up and connect with people in your region, post your daily word count, chat with others in forums, etc. If you're doing it alone, you're missing half the fun. NaNoWriMo exists to bring writers together, so they can encourage and motivate one another. Pressing toward that deadline in en masse has a powerful effect.

    Also, for those who feel they write too slowly or "thoughtfully" to do this, I strongly recommend you try it. I'm one of those people and I feel I got more out of it than the manic writers who scribble down 3,000+ words a day. We, the slow-pokes, are the ones who need this most of all.

    Ironically, the goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words in about 30 days, not a complete novel. I am yet to actually meet that goal. My personal record stands at 33,000 last year and I don't feel like any less of a "winner" than someone who threw together 250,000. (Yes, someone actually did that.) The purpose isn't to shove you into a corner and force you to vomit up nonsense in the hopes of meeting the numerical goal. The purpose is for you to get motivated about writing.
     
  13. serowden
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    serowden Member

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    I've been writing for years and have tens of thousands of words in over a dozen unfinished manuscripts -- not one is finished.

    That's honestly why I'm here, to try to figure out how to get past the issues I have that hold me back, and always leave my projects incomplete, with overwhelming amounts of material I don't know how to organize.

    I wish I could write a novel in a month, healthy or not.
     
  14. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love NaNo, but I mainly do it for the fun of it and the community (not that you guys aren't great). I usually write silly stories I don't want to do much, if anything, with later. It's like a break from my real writing.
     
  15. lachesis77
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    lachesis77 Member

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    I've participated in the last two NaNos, and while I never actually finished either of my two first drafts, I did make it past the 50,000-word goal, so I technically "won" both. I plan on doing it again this November, too. It's a daunting goal and I can understand how it might not appeal to everyone, but it's a great motivational tool to get you started on a first draft, if anything.
     
  16. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Never tried it. I know that my writing style wouldn't permit me to work at this pace. It took a lot of time to finish my first draft of my best project, nearly 7 months, and that was three to four hours a day at about 5 days per week. It took me that amount of time because i needed to research and plan certain aspects, such as military, social structure, and pump as much reality as I could into something that is supposed to be fantasy.
     

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