NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The name glides from the keyboard smooth as silk. NaNoWriMo.
One month, 50,000. words, fiction. Write till you drop. Generate record profits for the coffee industry. Hopefully, get something out of a month of sheer terror that can be refined into a novel. People have written novels and gotten them published.
Writers hanging around writers, both in cyberspace and (in various cities) physically, urging each other on, sounded great. Sounded scary. So why did I keep thinking about it Like a throbbing tooth that you just must nudge with your tongue, NaNoWriMo worked its way into my mind.
At first I said to myself, I'm not going to do it. Actually it isn't the 50,000 words in 30 days thing that terrifies me. It's the fiction thing. I don't do fiction. Well, I haven't done fiction since, oh, I was a 12 year old writing the timeless novel "Birdmen of Zuma" about canary men with super powers, living in - where else? - the Canary Islands. Timeless as in "You've Never Seen it At Your Local Bookstore and You Should Thank Me Daily For That." (I even have a timeless friend and blog reader who remembers me pounding out that novel, day after day, after school, on her mother's typewriter.)
I thank those writers who gave me encouragement, with a special shout out to the author Jo Michaels, after I blogged about possibly doing NaNoWriMo. I pondered and made excuses in my head. Excuses, I do very well. Fiction, I don't do well at all. I even looked at the rules and it said FICTION. You know, character development and plot. I prefer to tell stories about what is or what was, in "real life".
I decided to lurk around the public parts of the NaNoWriMo website. And when I started to dig into the forums, an amazing thing happened. I was back in the book What Color is Your Parachute, in the cocktail party exercise I blogged about last week.
This exercise involves imagining you are in a cocktail party, where people have gathered in the corners. Historians in one corner. Mathematicians in another. Artists in another. Mechanics in another, and so forth. You can hang out in any corner you want, regardless of if you have the skills or the experience, and listen to the conversations. The corner you end up wanting to be in gives you clues as to what your chosen career should involve.
While in those forums, I found my corner. I'm a writer, after all.
How can I resist forums with names like "NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul"? "The Plot Bunny Day Care Center"? and "What Your English Teacher Lied About"? These people are my kind of crazy.
So now, all I have to do is find a way I can disguise non fiction as fiction, and come up with (I guess) a title, all in the next 5 days. And register, before Frankenstorm comes and we lose our power.
Novels have power to change the world. As someone who started out college out majoring in history, I should know that. Maybe, just maybe, if I write about the right thing, the novel (as Jo Michaels pointed out to me) will write itself.
For now, I still ponder.
Anyone else in upstate NY thinking about NaNoWriMo?