Friday, November 25, 2011

What NaNoWriMo Accomplishes

   It's hideous! It's disfigured! It's completely unlike the original vision! It's...The First Draft!
   Let me start from the beginning.
   I've heard people mention the pointlessness of NaNoWriMo before. In case you aren't familiar with NaNoWriMo, a couple weeks ago I posted about it. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a program facilitating writers who want take the challenge to write 50,000 words (or more) during the month of November. Critics say that any novel written that quickly can't be any good, and so the excercise is pointless.
   They're  both right and wrong.
   They're right in that these 50,000 words will include a poorly constructed plot with, bad grammer, wooden characters, and other writing maladies. However, every first draft ever written was populated with these and other problems, (including The Hobbit, To Kill a Mockingbird, and even Your Favorite Book! *gasp*). Therefore, the "trashy novel" argument isn't really valid. The term "first draft" is practically synonymous with "monster." It might surprise you that every book by every author was rewritten, reworked, revised countless times in drafts that number from 5-50. Probably more in some cases! My first novel has gone through at least 6 drafts since I wrote it in NaNoWriMo 2010.
   The critics are wrong, however, when they say NaNoWriMo is pointless. Really, it's a tool. There are several ways to use NaNoWriMo advantageously, but I've found that it's most useful in prodding a writer (me) to actually finish the first draft. Finishing that first novel draft is one of the biggest challenges for writers to overcome.
   For writers who've already conquered that first draft milestone (bravo for you!), NaNoWriMo is also helpful in creating a writing habit: a daily word count goal, a daily time frame, or whatever habit you're trying to build. A month is long enough to get started on a habit.
   So if anyone tries to tell you not to do NaNoWriMo because the product have a justification to write away! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Write. Then revise. Then revise again. Then revise s'more....

     You may remember my joyous proclaimation last year about the birth of "my new novel!" Let me explain why only two people have been allowed to read this NaNoWriMo novel.

     Some writers hate them, some writers love them, but we all have to do them.
     Revision is rewriting. Editing in big chunks. Like, "I wrote  this scene for chapter two, but I think it should actually go in chapter 37." It's all about decisions, and let me tell you, it's hard.
     So, only two people have gotten to read my book: my mother, and my critique partner. No one else will until I have revised it so much it's almost unrecognizable as the same book. And trust me, it's a good thing.
     There's another reason I'm not sharing my book. If I got copies of it made and distributed them, it would be considered "self-publishing." I don't have space to talk about exactly what that is here, but at some point I will.
     If you want some inspiring and useful advice on revising, I'll direct you to two places:
     Both of these blogs inform and inspire. They rule the writing tips. Seriously. A lot of times, when give advice, I'll put up links for articles on these sites.
     Anyway, happy revising!

Friday, November 11, 2011


So. Since it's November, let me tell you about NaNoWriMo. This acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. This program is the glorious reason I began writing in the first place! Let me share the wonder with YOU!
Every November 1st, serious or silly and definitely insane people who want to write novels gather together (online) to hack out 50,000 words for the next 30 days. That's 1,667 words a day in order to finish during the time limit and "win"!
The website has a zillion gadgets to inspire you and induce the insanity required for this wonderful task: a word count graph, a profile page, numerous forums on every subject, a helpful online community, and pep-talks from published writers!
I'm in my second year, and right on target with 17,093 words. Much thanks to Teresa, who introduced me to NaNo last year!
NaNo 2011 is in full swing! In case you missed the bus on November 1st this year, let me tell you all the reasons which might indicate you should join in this madness with me next year:
1.) If you've ever wanted to write a novel.
2.) If you've ever thought about wanting to write a novel.
3.) If the idea of writing a novel ever excited you, but then you rememembered it would be too hard.
4.) If you like to read. You can write your own book! Writing also deepens the writer's understanding of reading in general.
5.) You can be my writing buddy!
6.) It's free!
7.) It's totally for fun, but if you finish, it's also a major accomplishment!

If you're interested, you can plan ahead for next November, or you can try out the new Camp NaNoWriMo (also online and also free) during the summer! There's a link to the website under "my favorite websites."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Welcome, Lit Lovers

An author is in need of a blog. So I am told by respectable society, and so I obey.
Because man do I want to be an author!
If you’re reading this post, you probably know me. Thanks for checking out my new space!
On this hallowed blogging space, every friday, I’ll post about books (reviews, news, etc.), writing tips, my own scribbles, or other things I think are awesome. You know, reading, writing, and not arithmetic. Numbers are banned from this space.
So, join me any time in my Well Lit Corner!
-Christy L