Well, boys and girls, we are headed towards November at a truly shocking pace, and that means it’s time for Nanowrimo!
I have never understood the hate for Nanowrimo in some quarters. Editors, yes. Editors, as my buddy Mur points out, have every reason to despise Nanowrimo because come December 1st, their slush pile swells to the size of New Zealand. I would therefore suggest that anybody attempting to write a book in November spend a coupla weeks revising before you inflict it on anyone else.*
But that aside, I think Nanowrimo is great. It gets people writing who would otherwise just maunder about wishing they’d write their book some day. It’s a manageable chunk of time. It’s a manageable chunk of words. There is passionate enthusiasm in the air. And anybody who says it’s not how professional writers write can kiss my ass.
As it happens, I myself write in furious spurts of thousands of words over the course of a week or two, and then I stare out the window for awhile and put a coupla hundred words here and there. Then I shove the manuscript in a file and go work on a painting. I find the manuscript again six months or a year later, go “Wow, this was actually good!” and then write in furious spurts and add another ten thousand words or so, and then I stare out the window so more and shove it back in a drawer.
If I am intelligent, at some point in this process, I send it to my agent and say “Can you find somebody to pay me to finish this?”
The answers so far run along the lines of:
1) Yes, I love this.
2) You’ve definitely got something here, give me an outline for the rest of the book.
3) Hmm…I like this, but I have no idea how to sell it. It may have to wait until you’re famous. I’ll see what I can do, though.
4) I’m very, very sorry, but this freaks me the hell out and I don’t want to work on it. (Hey, it happens!)
and my personal favorite:
5) I could probably write “Option Proposal” on this e-mail and have the movie rights sold before Penguin gets us the contract for the next Dragonbreath Book.
So my system actually serves me very well, half-assed as it may be. (Two of those described books sold, that last one will likely be the post-Dragonbreath project, and I may wind up releasing those others as e-books or something if I ever get them done.)
But I’m tired of having so many unfinished books. It makes me a trifle neurotic to have all those stories hanging there undone.
Thing is, I can finish a book on a deadline without a problem. Five Dragonbreath and one Nurk down, and I grant you, they’re short-short books, but nevertheless, you give me a deadline and I will work methodically to meet it and turn it a script by the end. And I can write a book, and finish a book, and there’s at least a mathematically possibility that it will be a commercially viable book, if not a runaway bestseller.
So this year, with that in mind…I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo.
Instead, I’m gonna invent NaNoFiMo. National Novel FINISHING Month.
The world doesn’t need me to slap words on another book for awhile and then shove it in a drawer. I already have over a half-dozen third-of-a-book scripts in my hard-drive. Some of them I know I’m not the person to finish (the thing with the barbarian gynecologist I can’t do yet…maybe in ten years…) and some aren’t worth finishing or would require more rewriting than I care to contemplate, but there’s still three or four or five that I could DO something with. The one Bluebeard story with the hedgehog, say, or the kid with the armadillo familiar, or maybe the thing with the goblins, because Kevin really wants to read the rest of that one.
That DO something might be “give it to my agent” or if she has no interest in it, it might be “release as e-book.” I’m not gonna worry about that bit. I’m just gonna set myself the deadline and FINISH one of those suckers already.
So. NaNoFiMo. For those of us who don’t need to START another damn book, we need to knuckle down and finish one of the ones we’ve got.
*I say this as a person who’s had a character’s eye-color change ten times in three chapters. Do as I say, not as I do.