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 stinks...you have a justification to write away! :)