Let me just say, November is the wrooooooooong month for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I thought this last year when I was working on PerNoFiMo (Personal Novel Finishing Month), which is my version of NaNoWriMo, only with the purpose of finishing a project I started but never got past the first few thousand words on.
The thing with both NaNoWriMo and PerNoFiMo is that you have to, HAVE TO, write every day, and not just a few hundred words either. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to complete a 50000 word draft of a novel in 30 days. The goal of PerNoFiMo is to come as close to finishing the first draft of that uncompleted project as I can get, and that usually means 30-40K words. That means on average 1000 words a night minimum for PerNoFiMo and 1700 words a night for NaNoWriMo. That’s a lot of words to write. And yes, they do have to be actual words! And of course, everybody is writing during the month leading up to the big holidays, and then there’s Thanksgiving when the kids are home for four days driving their hard working, frantically writing parents crazy. And then how can anyone possibly sit down to write after eating all that turkey?! Seriously, all I wanted to do after Thanksgiving dinner was curl up in a cave and hibernate for the rest of the year.
However, neither NaNoWriMo nor PerNoFiMo require that the novel being written be a perfect final draft. In fact, I think both events are ideal for banging out that very ugly first draft. You know what I’m talking about – the story so ugly only its author could love it, and even he or she might just set fire to it, it’s that bad? But that’s what first drafts are about, and you can’t get to the finished product without bringing that ugly 10 lb. baby first draft into the world.
Anyway, my sympathies and my encouragement to all you NaNoWriMo participants out there, and my congratulations to all you winners (including our dear friend Nobilis Reed!). I’ve reached a point in my PerNoFiMo project, The Little Death, where I’ve at least outlined the whole plot and I can see where I need to start doing massive rewriting. No, I didn’t really write out those final scenes. Probably about the last eighth of the book is only in very rough outline format. But it does have an ending now! Which means December is now PerNoReWriMo, or Personal Novel ReWriting Month.
And let me just say, December is a lousy month to be rewriting a novel…