WRITE A BOOK IN A MONTH? HOW NOVEL!
by Honeydew Zubari
I’m gearing up for November, carb packing and exercising my fingers till they drop. Why? You ask. Silly you- everyone knows November is Nanowrimo!
“Na ree hoo haw?” you say, scratching your head.
I roll my eyes at the density of some people. “National Novel Writing Month, or ‘Nanowrimo’ to those of us in the know.”
Before becoming enlightened, I saw November as the bleakest of times. My summer tan gone, pre-winter boredom setting in with nothing to do but whine about too much football on TV. Nothing to look forward to but one day of massive pigging out followed by three of misery until all the food digested. Fun city. No more! I came across an extra-cool web site that clued me in and changed my dismal Novembers forever. You, too, can check it out: http://www.nanowrimo.org.
The idea is this-and I know it sounds fantastical, but there you are- a person can write a complete book full of chapters and a beginning, middle and ending in just thirty days. Yup, you heard me right, one lone month. Thousands upon billions of amateur authors gather round the campfire on November 1, and wait for the starting pistol to sound. BANG! They’re off, typing as fast as they can, attempting to produce a 50,000 word novel. Sign-up is October 1 through November 25 (“hope springs eternal,” as they put it). I plan to be first in line, and am going to camp out in front of the computer for the last week of September to be sure I get a ticket. Um… sorry-flashing back to my concert days.
The rules are so bendable they’re made of rubber, almost everything goes. Wannabe authors can write about any topic in any genre, even in any language, so long as by Nov. 30 the word count is met. The only people who aren’t eligible are ones who take themselves and their writing too seriously. No problem! I don’t take ANYTHING seriously.
Prizes? No cash, no plaques… you’re rewarded with a completed (or at least roughed-out) 50,000 word novel. What’s better than a real live finished book? One that’s ready to be tidied up and sent out to a real live publisher? That’s something that you might not have without the pressure of a deadline and the support of thousands of others doing the same thing. The whole idea is brilliant! Forums in which to share tales of woe and bits of sheer genius as the month progresses, meeting sites in your area for face-to-face gripe sessions and massaging of blistered fingertips. And at month’s end parties galore!
Entry fees? Nada. But they do have spiffy t-shirts you can buy that help them meet costs and advertise for the world to see that you’re a busy writer. (For a month, anyway.) I intend to buy thirty of them, so I won’t have to do laundry all month-thus giving myself that much more of a lead over the other entrants. Heh heh heh, devious ain’t I?
I’m so impressed with the coordinators of all this! Not only do they give us lazy would-be-famous-novelists the kick-start in the pants we need, but 50% of their profits will go towards building libraries in Cambodia and filling them with new books. Children will have a chance to read and love literature, a wonderful thing. We entrants are doing something for ourselves, and we’re doing something great for kids overseas. I plan to support the cause wholeheartedly.
So, this means I have less than two months to prepare. The first, and hardest, task is to find someone to take the cats and boyfriend off my hands starting November 1. I’ll be way too busy moaning about deadlines and plot holes to pay attention to them, spoiled things.
Then there’s a dictionary, thesaurus and assorted grammar books to arrange next to freshly sharpened pencils. There’s the battery on my laptop to be charged and ready to go. Reams of paper to be bought and loaded into the printer.
No time for shopping after the competition starts, so I’ll have to pack in supplies now. Mounds of chocolate and cases of diet coke. What? Food? The pizza places, Chinese restaurants and sub shops who deliver are all on my speed dial. Got it covered. What if my phone gets disconnected? A person can live on chocolate for a month without doing too much damage. Stop asking silly questions so I can wrap up this column.
When I’ve crawled, dehydrated and starved but triumphant, over that finish line after thirty days of exhaustive creating, I intend to collapse and sleep for the first week of December, clutching my hot-off-the-printer newly written book to my chest. Aaahhh, the sweet feeling of accomplishment. So what if it’s horrible, total junk? It’s my total junk. A finished book. I’ll be one of the elite, the upper echelon who have gone where many talk about but never do-to the land of the written novel.
Bring it on pardner, this cowchick is ready! I double-dare all of you to go to the site, sign up and write a book this year!
©2004, “Quickdraw Sue, the fastest typist in the East” Scott