Sunday, November 05, 2006


For those of you who were wondering, November is National Novel Writing Month. There is a site called that is dedicated to encouraging dedicated folks who've always wanted to write a novel to write 50,000 words in November.

I've done it for several years now, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever said, "I've been meaning to write that story..." and then went off to work, or to school and didn't.

The beauty of writing 50,000 words in a month is that you are free from worry about whether each sentence is a gem. The idea is to get the idea down. As a writer, and a writing instructor, I know the value of this kind of escape from the critical editor that sits on our shoulders, complaining that the idea is fully fleshed out our the sentence is awkward. The truth is (for most writers, there are always a few exceptions) that writing is rewriting. And you can't rewrite what you haven't written yet.

A story has a shape in our head before we write it, but the process of writing changes and sometimes alters that initial form we envisioned. Rewriting is when lumps can be smoothed out (or built up to give the reader some interesting texture). But, for those of us who dare, writing that first draft with no brakes is like sledding down a steep hill in the first snow of winter--breath stolen by the rush of wind and terror, fervent prayer that there is no big tree waiting at the end of the ride to stop us cold.

If you haven't heard of NaNo, but are interested, it is not too late to join in. Age doesn't matter. Story genre doesn't matter. Just the desire to get that story in your head onto paper.

Kelly (aka prosewars)
(who is behind after five days, with only 1,500 words done...but enjoying the ride anyway)

No comments: