Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We're all mad here...

Call the guys with the butterfly nets, because I think I lost my mind. In the euphoria of polishing off the last niggly editing details on The Palimpsest, I made a decision of the sort that one simply would not make under normal circumstances. Yes, I woke up to find my hat in the ring of that internet writing phenomenon uttered with fear former novelists wearing the latest in straightjacket fashion as National Novel Writing Month, aka "NaNoWriMo". National Novel Writing Month sounds innocuous enough until you realize it's not just a month when we celebrate those of us benighted enough to ignore Lewis Black's sage advice -- it's also a sort of marathon. The funny funny pranksters at NaNoWriMo have challenged the citizens of the world to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days or less. Write one novel in one month and you "Win". . . a Jim-dandy .PDF certificate and a badge to put on your website.
Really? All that work for that? It's an awfully nice certificate. And there's also satisfaction in a job well done. "Well" done, Scottie? Okay, a job quickly done, but done nonetheless. Did they specify if this includes post-contest psychological counseling, and/or rehab for caffeine addiction? No, but I would certainly hope some sort of group discount can be negotiated by participants. You're already talking to yourself.
As I am a man of my word as well as my madness, I will finally be putting words to the page on the project I refer to as "42 Lines" starting bright and early Sunday morning. No outline, just my ego, my laptop and a pile of accumulated research that's waiting for me to boil it down into novel form.
"Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've... had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse" -NaNoWriMo welcome email.
Good advice. Masochism is a writer's best friend, after all. To keep myself from changing my mind, I'm posting it here for all to see. Maybe some good will come out of this. I plan to average 1,800 words per day, which is a decent output and actually a little low for me when I'm under a full head of steam. I only need 1,667 to hit the mark, but I want to create a bit of a cushion to cover the contingencies. Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise (as my dad would say) at the end of the month I should have a credible rough draft of my next novel. Assuming I still remember how to read by that point. If you've a mind to do so, you can find me at the NaNoWriMo site under the name Pages2Type.


  1. I stand here as your humble witness. Also, a psychologist. Lemme know if you need a keyboard to cry on.

  2. At least you won't be alone with your need for therapy in a month. How much are those group rates?


Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).