Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 –Take One


“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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To most, November means leaves turning gold and orange, frost on the ground and a chill in the morning air, and there’s plenty of turkey and pumpkin pie towards the end of the month.

To others, it’s time to write. Write A LOT!!! At least 50,000 words to be specific for it’s National Novel Writing Month…NaNoWriMo for short.

I learned about NaNoWriMo by accident midway through last November when listening to Mur Lafferty’s I should Be Writing podcast. It intrigued me. But, I figured there would be no way to win starting so late in the month.

Organizers say you win NaNoWriMo if you write at least 50,000 words during the month. It can be pure dreck that you’ll throw 80% away in editing. But, the word count is the goal. To get the juices flowing, so to speak.

And what do you get for winning? A fancy downloadable pdf certificate, suitable for hanging on your all (frame not included).

I think most people have said at least once in their life, “I want to write a book.” The trick is in actually moving from thinking about it to actually doing it; be it on a computer, typewriter, or a ream of 20lb bond and a fountain pen.

NaNoWriMo has grown from a group of 21 Bay Area friends in 1999 to over 310,000 participants worldwide just last year. People from all walks of life writing about all sorts of different subjects.

I will be writing a fictionalized account of a little known American Civil War event. In 1863, Czar Alexander II approved a plan to send his Pacific Navy fleet to San Francisco, while sending his Atlantic Navy fleet to New York City. They hung around for about a year before heading back to Mother Russia.

It’ll be wrapped about several historical events, which they may or may not have had direct involvement in (it’s fiction after all!).

At least that’s the plan.

Or I  may decide at the last second I want to hold that one off until I get more research done, replacing the idea with some <fill in the genre> novel that I’ve come up with as I go along (known as a pantsing in NaNoWriMo vernacular).

That’s allowed, since there are really very few rules, and for those who want to break the rules, there’s a rule for that. Just declare yourself a NaNoWriMo Rebel.

50,000 words is actually doable. That’s only 1,667 words per day, if you write every day. Most of my blog entries hover around 1,000 words, and are completed in about two hours with editing (this entry is about 560 words). For NaNoWriMo, you’re generally supposed to lock your inside editor in a box until December.

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For those interested in taking up the challenge, local East Bay Region organizers will be having a pre-event meet and greet Thursday (Oct. 30) at the Dublin Panera, located at 7030 Amador Plaza Road, followed by an official kick-off party, November 1, at the Berkeley Public Library main branch.

If you’re not located around my neck of the woods you can find your home region, as well as any events they might have scheduled at http://nanowrimo.org/regions