Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

Dear Secret Blogiary,

This will be my last NaNoWriMo update for 2010.


After a great struggle in the last week, I managed to stumble over the 50k mark last night. From the get go this year’s NaNo was a struggle. I did not plot and plan as much as I have in previous years and I feel that my story certainly shows the effects of inefficient planning. With a critics eye I can honestly say that my characters were one dimensional, flat and static; not a single one of them grew or developed. The plot, weak though it was, did not drive the story and I spent a good twenty thousand words meandering throughout a very stagnant middle.

Also, I did not end the story. I just stopped writing in the middle of a fight scene between my main character and her sister. I had had enough so I walked. All of my investment, my time and effort, I just walked away and that was okay, because really, I do not think that the story would go very far to be a viable polished piece.

Please note my use of polished rather than published. Over the month, I have heard a number of critics slam NaNoWriMo as, and I am paraphrasing here, stupid, hack work, fan-fic crap. These critics who are “published” writers seem to think that NaNo detracts from the written word and they miss all the good that NaNo has done: the surge of interest in writing, the donations to libraries, the connections that the WriMos make with others. All this done in the name of literary abandon!

Do these critics honestly believe that just because a writer writes fast, produces quantity that we expect to be published on December 1? That seems to be the case, but I can tell in all honesty, that most of the WriMos I have encountered are intelligent, word wise people who know that what ever they produce in November is a first draft. It will need polishing, tightening and sometimes, yes, we toss the whole thing out, as I plan on doing.

Now, someday, I hope to be published. Someday, I hope that I have a story that people are moved by. But until that happens, I will continue to participate in NaNoWriMo because the way to improve my writing is through writing. And that is what the critics should focus on. People are writing! Words flowing from the mind through the fingertips so fast the sometimes the word processor can’t keep up with you!

That’s writing, uninhibited by rules and structure, (okay…we all still follow rules and structure, but still). Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in six meager weeks. SIX!! And it was an instant success when it was published. Walt Whitman kept reworking and republishing Leaves of Grass until he died. So who is to say how long a work of genius should take? I’ve seen romance writers publish four novels in a single year. Stephan King publishes one every year or so.

NaNo comes around once a year; a crazy month long adventure that is entertaining, exciting and enjoyable. It is a break from my “regular” writing: blogs, short stories, novellas and yes, novels. I may not be a published writer, but I am still a writer because, my friends, I have stories to tell that are just about near to exploding out of my head!

I write because I love words.

I write because I have stories to tell.

I write because it is who I am.

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