Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cheating at NaNo

November is coming, with it's holiday busy-ness and something else exciting: National Novel Writing Month. Why they couldn't have picked January or February, I'll never know, but November is the month non-fic writers like me turn into novelists.

NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization designed to help us do just that. You can learn all about it at their webisite, but I'll give you the quick version: You sign up to write 50,000 words of your novel in a month's time. No concern over quality - the goal is just OUTPUT. Just Write It. Just get the words down and later you can edit. (There's a month for that too, I believe.)

If you do it, you "win." If you don't do it, you sigh and think, "Next year."

Last year in November, I sighed and thought "Next year." I had something like 11,000 words. It was a very busy month for me, with travelling and visiting relatives and Thanksgiving with family, etc. (Lots of excuses to be found if you just look hard enough!)

Anyway, the novel I started was going to be GREAT. I still think it is going to be great. I still have 11,000 words.

The NaNo rules explicitly state that you work on a NEW novel. You can plot and plan in October, but no writing is allowed. Writing begins on November 1.

But how can I abandon my old characters at 11,000 words? My main character is still circling the living room, if I remember correctly, planning her next move.

Well, I'm pretty sure I'm going to cheat. If it compromises the integrity of the process, I won't officially sign up at the official site, but I know of a few places where I can still hold myself to a word count. Maybe here would be one place. I might get one of those tickers or something that shows my progress.

Anyway, I have a few weeks to think it over before I actually commit to NaNo, cheating or otherwise. But until then, I want any NaNo cheaters to come out of the woodwork. Are you going to cheat? Tell me. Confess. Don't leave me out here in the cold, looking like the only cheater. Please.

NaNo Cheaters unite!



Kel said...

Ah, now this is the most refreshing and honest blog entry I have ever read.

I wish I could join you in your cheating excursion, but I have a new idea that I've got simmering in the back of my addled brain that needs the pressure of NaNo to bring it to a boil (I'm addicted to mixed metaphors.)

Still, JOIN UP! Use the forums and word count thing-a-ma-bobss as a means of support and impetus, then if you reach the extra 50,000 words--and if your conscience condemns you--don't enter in a final count. No harm, no foul, that's what I say.

Carolyn Erickson said...

Thanks, I try to be refreshing! :D

Yeah, those thingamobs keep you honest. I'm holding out on a commitment just yet... I like to keep my promises, so I'm going to be sure I'm really going to GO for it!

Who else is in? I'll probably cave to peer pressure! :)


Mysti said...

Although I might not meet the 50,000 word goal for the month of November, I do want to modify the quest for myself and my life.

I do have one story that has sat for years. I'm going to devote the month of November to that book and work through some pretty rough emotions in the process. It's more of a memoir type novel, but just the same, I intend on focusing my attentions there.

Now, does that make me a cheater? Not in my eyes. I'm taking the challenge and creating a different approach to an idea that is a good one. I'll develop that book in lieu of another.


Carolyn Erickson said...

Yes, of course you're not really a cheater. That's just tongue-in-cheek. What you've done is challenged yourself to a different goal - rather than starting and completing a novel in a month, you're going to push yourself to finish one you've started.

But it's more fun saying "Cheater! Cheater!" :D

Jokingly, of course. ;-)


Mysti L Guymon said...

LOL!!! Cheating us, or something like that :) Cheat - go for it, CHEAT! ;) All jokingly, of course.

Rachel said...

I'd cheat. Actually I would cheat this year if I could find any way to put in time for writing during the month my baby is due. I think November will be a bit busy though.

Aisha said...

I did it! I signed up! Oh, boy the big leap. My daughter talked me into it and my husband was like, "why are you telling me this? Do I have to do anything?" Typical. So, anyhow, I hope it will be a success. I just don't imagine anyone will be in my region! I live in Jordan. Will have to see.

Carolyn Erickson said...

"...and my husband was like, 'why are you telling me this? Do I have to do anything?'"


Congrats on taking the plunge, Aisha!

WritingAllNight said...

Ok, I'm in.

I started a novel, rewrote the first couple of pages, then let it sit on a Wordpress blog.

I'm not joining up on the site, but I'll hang out here, post my count, and root for anyone else who joins in.

Carolyn Erickson said...

Oh good, Julie!

Are you cheating, though? You didn't say specifically. I want cheaters only here, LOL. Just kidding! Kidding!



Carolyn Erickson said...