Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NanoWriMo-Whatchamacallit? - The Point Being????

Warning Unpopular Opinion About To Be Expressed

Some writer friends of mine swear by it. Others go into deep hibernation. On Forum boards all over the net you see this little icons in the signature announcing to the world how many words they have in a novel they are writing for the National Novel Writing Month. Here the idea is one thing - quantity, as far as I can determine.

Over at Absolute Write they have oodles upon oodles of threads and posts devoted to this craziness. Now, whereas this would be a great idea for kids in school and such, for the life of me I cannot understand why someone involved in serious writing would want to sit for 30 days producing a novel that is just a conglomeration of words.

I am sure there are those that plan out the novel before Nov. 1st rolls around. I am sure there are those that will say, "well hopefully something will come out that I can later work on and turn into a real book". And I am sure there are those who do it for the fun of it or just to say they could do it.

And yet, it seems such an exercise in futility to me that I am bemused by it all. At first it kind of looked to me like an insult to good writing. You know, write whatever junk comes to your mind and produce the great Novel.

Then, in a more kinder mood, I thought that maybe this is really a good idea to promote the art of the written word. Get people to write even if they still cannot put a coherent paragraph together.

Then I thought this is just some more hype (but I cannot figure out from where the income comes from, so it is not a scam).

Then I finally realized that my head is not screwed on right. After all, so many people seem to take this glorious pleasure at putting themselves through torture and sleepless nights just to produce the most words in a work that no one will ever read - then the synapses in my brain must be cross-wired and not understand the lure.

Nope I am not a fan of this Novel shmorgasboard. I see it as being totally without purpose or merit. I can find no redeeming quality to joining this race for words and mishkabobble of minds. It seems to be madness has overtaken many wannabe authors (and even some published ones to my great shock!)

So I accept the fact I am crazy (not a biggie since I knew that already). That I always espouse unpopular ideas. I am looked upon with sadness and pity by those who know the love of writing novels for the sake of just stringing words together.

I really do not get this. I do not understand it. It is a world gone mad with words and thoughts with no cohesion to them.

But then again, hell, I blog. One could say the same thing for Bloggers everywhere!

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bunnygirl said...

My understanding is that it's a fun way to motivate people who are having trouble staying the course, but who have always wanted to write a novel.

It can also be like brainstorming-- just write what you feel and worry later about whether it's any good. Some people are really afraid to let go of their perfectionism. They end up bogged down on the third word of the fourth paragraph, or whatever. Sort of like that character in Camus' The Plague who endlessly wrote and re-wrote without seeming to ever get anywhere.

So I don't necessarily see NaNoWriMo as a pointless exercise. If you're writing just to get read, you're missing the point, anyway.

I've never done NaNoWriMo, and I doubt I ever will because I'm sufficiently self-motivated that I don't need to trick myself that way. And I'm not much of a joiner, so I'm not motivated to sign up for the companionship aspect of it, either.

But if NaNoWriMo helps someone else exorcise a few personal demons by putting them into pixels, or if it keeps somone engaged in a creative activity rather than vegging in front of the tube, I'm not going to judge.

As long as the participants are realistic about what they're doing and don't think participation automatically puts them on a par with Faulkner, I think it's kind of a cool idea.

Harbormaster said...

I see the NaNoWriMo as an exercise to allow authors to freewrite, get their thoughts on paper and edit later. I toyed with it last year and steered clear of this go round. I do think it has its place as a spark plug for writing.

bes said...

I agree. I don't see the point in starting a new project, and churning out 50K words just because it's November. I'm busy trying to write 50K words because that's about how many it's going to take to get to the end of the 1st draft of my WIP.

I think I can see what the impetus behind it was. Motivation for those who aren't self-motivating. But the purpose seems skewed to me. Writing without purpose is pointless. Motivating people to write without purpose is like motivating people to walk leisurely in a circle--you don't get anywhere and it isn't really exercise. Pointless.

Writing just to slap words on a blank page is pointless. So, the only reason those of us who write to be read are 'missing the point' is because there is no point to hit.


Miss Java said...

I always find it interesting for people to criticize or endorse things like this one way or the other, because really it falls on the person's choice to do it or not. No matter if others think it is stupid.

I am doing NaNoWriMo this year, but not faithfully. It was just the right timing for the start of my new book, and was a good way for several of my friends to do this together. So I am doing it more for the camaraderie, not necessarily the prize of finishing it in the months time.

If I finish, great. If not...well, at least I had that nifty little bar graph to decorate my blog.