www.whyville.net Oct 27, 2006 Weekly Issue

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Tens of thousands of us get together in a cozy online community during the month of November. We each attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Stress levels are high. Caffeine levels are high. Junk food levels are very high. By the 15th day, more than half have dropped out. By the 20th, there are tears and rants and general frustration galore.

All in all, it's a blast.

National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) is a sort of international novel-writing marathon. People of all ages join up in the month of November on the worldwide interwebs and try to each write their own novel in a month. It's not for the weak-hearted, and definitely not for the perfectionist. Writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days or less is much harder than it sounds -- that's around 2000 words per day. In order to get it finished you need to lock away your Internal Editor and not be afraid to write absolute crap. You'd have to be crazy to do it. Luckily, over 60,000 crazies signed up for NaNoWriMo last year alone -- and over a sixth of those people finished it.

Here's the idea: if you attempt pump out words that quickly you start worrying about quantity over quality, and your standards lower. Surprisingly enough, this is a good thing. As anyone who has ever tried to write anything ever in the history of time knows, when you try to write something good more often than not it'll come out cheesy and forced, causing you to lose interest or give up. A big, scary, looming deadline such as The Thirtieth of November (ooh, sounds like a horror story) can bring forth some potential you never knew you had. Yes, you'll write some terrible prose. Yes, your characters may end up clich??d and your plot horribly flawed. But at some point in the month your story will take charge of itself and run ahead, leaving you impressed with your own characters and surprised at your own plot twists. It's vaguely terrifying and oddly exciting at the same time.

So come on and join us. You don't need to be a great writer. Heck, you don't even need to be a good one. You just have to enjoy it. When you hit 50,000 words in 30 days it's an incredible rush, and even if you don't make it there, the trip itself is surprisingly fun. Besides, it gives you an excuse to sit around in front of your computer every day for a month, downing chocolate bars and bottles of pop. What more could you ask for?

Head on over to the website (www.nanowrimo.org) and sign up. Ponder over your newfound insanity. Think up a few characters. Chat with us wild folk on the forums, get excited, get nervous, await the beginning of November, and have fun.

And, since my eyes hurt and my alarm clock will be cruelly playing David Bowie in my ear in less than five hours time and I really should try to get a little sleep before that happens, this is . . .

Kirbie393, over and out.


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