Time for Nano-nonsense

If you’re a writer, you tweet, or if you visit social media sites you may have heard of Nanowrimo. The term is an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you start writing on Nov. 1 and you write every day until Nov. 30. If you produce 1,667 words a day, you’ll have 50,000 words at the end. Voila! A novel!

Is it structured? Probably not. Are there typos? Everywhere. Does the Nanowrimo organization care? Nope. The idea is to juice you up and get you to the end. Editing, superimposing a structure, plumping up your characters…all this is done in December.

This is pantser paradise. (A pantser is someone who sits down and writes with only a vague idea of where it all will end). I’ve participated about three times and sadly, I’ve gotten bored and dropped out after about 30,000 words. But there are those who are believers.

The plotters in the group write out elaborate outlines and when Nov. 1 comes along, they’re off and running with minimal work to do in the next month. Not so the poor pantser who gets the words down, then has to struggle even more to make sense of them.

Did I mention the cheaters? The Nanowrimo computer requires you to upload your finished work so the words can be counted. It doesn’t read or critique what’s there. It just counts. Theoretically, you could type in the U.S. Constitution or words from the dictionary. But that’s only if you want one of those cute Nanowrimo badges to put on your website or Facebook Page.

Most people are honest. They’re trying to get motivated to write their next book and having to upload your word count to a tab on a page gets you there. If you’re sluggish, Nanowrimo provides daily pep talks, nights of writing dangerously (with other writers) and other prompts. It’s all in fun, especially the events, and hey, sometimes it works.

You Were Mine at Merlot was originally a Nano book. I let it sit for a year or two before going back and editing it, expanding it, and reworking it like a block of clay. It doesn’t much resemble the original, but the bones were good, I just had to add the meat and filler.

These days the Nano folks want you to name your book and even upload a temporary cover if you have one. There’s a place to donate to their registered charity and buy stuff in their store.

My title is A Pinot for your Thoughts. It’s silly. It will change. It’s Aiden Reynoso’s story. What’s it about? After ten thousand words, I’m still not sure. The only thing I can guarantee is it will have a happy ending. It’s a romance novel, after all. And I have a nice excuse to drink a few pinots. All in the name of research.


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