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My Number One Take Aways from NaNo

Look. You do National Novel Writing Months for your own reasons. I do them (when I do them) for mine. I have been crossing my eyes to avoid looking at other people's NaNo panics this years, not because they are infectious, but because it's been making me bite my tongue. The biggest panics I see are amongst the people who take it far too seriously, and make up too many rules for themselves. I'm done biting my tongue, even though the real panic-stricken don't read this journal. But, if you know someone who is panicking, you can tell them this:

1) NaNo is a tool, not an end in and of itself.

2) If achieving wordcount is the real goal--and it is, in so much that that is the only way to "win" NaNo, then count every word. If you delete more than ten words as you go along, you are (in my humble opinion) doing it wrong. You don't delete. Use the "strikethrough" option if you don't want those words in the story, because you wrote them in the month of November and they count. Strikethrough is found in the fonts area of Word, near the superscript functions, filed under "effects." In HTML, it's accomplished by bracketing the letter s as though it were an i for italics.

3) There's a line of patter about the purposes of NaNo, and you might believe it. Or not. So here's MY best reason to do it. We all know that novels are not (unless they are Middle Grade or early YA) 50,000 words long. For my purposes, NaNo's great function is that it cheerleads you past that 25-30,000 word mark, where a lot of novels stall and die.

And those are my NaNo thoughts.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 25th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
"NaNo is a tool, not an end in and of itself."

I like this statement a lot, though I suppose there are some people for whom NaNo is an end, and there's nothing beyond the 50K finish line. But from the standpoint of someone who wants to write a novel, heck yeah. And like any tools, it may or may not be the right one for the job, depending on the writer and the book.
Nov. 25th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
You're so right! 26k seems to be a hard corner for me to turn in novel-writing.
Nov. 25th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
I've often questioned the value of forcing yourself to write a novel in a month. I think you're right about the value of having motivation to get past the "muddle" of a book. But it is kind of sad when people get carried away with something like this and lose sight of the "big picture."
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
Use the "strikethrough" option if you don't want those words in the story, because you wrote them in the month of November and they count.

That is totally valid and something I had not taken into account. Good thought!
Nov. 25th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)

Yours are helpful ideas, for me at least.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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