NaNoWriMo, or: Just because it’s stupid doesn’t mean I’m not going to try it

National Novel Writing Month!

Fifty thousand words in 30 days. Because what could possibly go wrong?

If you’re a writer . . .

Or have even thought about being a writer . . .

And have spent any time at all kicking around the Interwebs over the past several years . . .

You’ve probably stumbled across this: the phenom known affectionately as NoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month!

It’s a movement. It’s a website. It’s a community.

It’s a way to invite public shame if you fail to crank out 50,000 words in 30 days.

I tried NaNoWriMo once before — in 2006. I lasted five days. Posted my progress each day on this blog ’til my effort met its early and ignoble end.

I have a new strategy, this year.

You’re allowed to lay some groundwork — an outline, for example — before you get started.

As it happens, I don’t find outlines helpful for writing fiction. Either the outline has to be so complete that it is basically the entire novel, or it has big gaps — and big gaps are the enemy of NaNoWriMo success, at least for me, because that’s what slows me down: I hit a gap and don’t know how to fill it and freeze.

So I’m going to try something different.

I’m going to pre-create a bunch of characters. (Already started, little buggers are wandering around in my head like they own the place.)

I’m going to create a handful of predestined events. (Got some of those already in place, too. I know there’s going to be a guy dead on a golf course — maybe it was an accident, maybe not. I know there’s going to be a member-guest golf tournament. I know there’s going to be people who fall in love ;-). And I know there’s going to be a winning lottery ticket. At least, there will be someone who think it’s a winning ticket — only he can’t remember where he put it. Think “where the heck did I put my car keys?” only a tad more urgent.)

And then, on November 1, I’m going to turn the characters loose and report what happens to them as they knock into those events and each other.

So we’ll see. Perhaps I’ll last only five days again . . .

But maybe I’ll be a bit more successful this time.

So how about you? Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo? If not, why not? And if yes, how did it go?

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