I admit I’m tempted. In one week, at the stroke of midnight on November 1, writers buzzing on Halloween candy will be grabbing their computers or their pens and their wits and diving into the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
Last year, over 310,000 people took part in the National Novel Writing Month (affectionately known as NaNoWriMo). I wasn’t one of them. And I won’t be this year either.
It would be a cool thing to do. Here’s why I’d like to take part:
- To barrel through the first draft of my next novel and get the darn thing done.
- For bragging rights.
- To connect with others facing the same challenge, and especially forge bonds with those in the Kootenay district.
Here’s why I won’t take part:
- I’m not ready.
It’s as simple as that. I know the basic premise of my next novel. I know the main characters. But I don’t know them well enough. I could conceivably write a 50,000-word novel about them, but it wouldn’t be a good one. It would lack depth. It would be a mess.
I don’t like messes. I’d rather plan carefully and do minimal cleanup after (or so I fantasize) than plunge in and have to sink or swim. Each time I pick up a novel by someone else, I’m flooded with ideas: An unreliable narrator? That might work. A ghostly presence? Hmm, perhaps. Raw, honest emotion? You bet. Current events snake their way in. The weather on a particular day inspires.
I’d lose these nuances if I rushed. Or at least they’d come as afterthoughts, rather than part of the underlying structure.
If I were 100 per cent prepped, I’d grab the bull by the horns. But I’m not—and I’d rather go with the flow of my muse and my usual butt-in-chair schedule than the pressures of a random, currently inconvenient deadline.
(Besides, if I dedicated myself exclusively to my novel, how could I capture my flood of ideas for the Kootenay Literary Competition?)