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Article: Why NaNoWriMo Is Nobody's Friend

  1. Why NaNoWriMo Is Nobody's Friend

    56 Comments by pepperlandgirl Published on 02 Nov 2009 03:05 PM
    A new story entry has been added:

    Why NaNoWriMo Is Nobody's Friend

    Every year, about two weeks before Halloween, people start talking about NaNoWriMo. They began mentioning possible ideas, blog about their plans, start threads on message boards to meet other participants, start asking if others plan to give it a go this year, and generally behaving as though this is a great, fun game. In fact, the concept of writing a novel as a game is so interwoven in this month that there are "winners" and "losers." What do you have to do to win? Finish 50,000 words, of course! That's it. That's all. It actually seems like a rather harmless activity. One that I shouldn't have any issue with. It keeps people occupied and happy and hell, I'm always posting encouragement to writers. I love helping new writers--I'm a writing teacher for God's sake! But I hate NaNoWriMo, and I'll tell you why.

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  3. #51
    Porno Dealing Monster pepperlandgirl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Unregistered View post
    The point of NaNoWriMo is not to purposely excuse shit writing in favor of actual quality. Its point is to get one's ass in gear and begin writing words, to not slack off. Yes, the whole thing is based on a bit of an honor system of sorts (even though there's a "verifier"), but that's on the writer to uphold her end of the bargain. The writer must actually write their own words, in an attempt to formulate a story, however loosely plotted, however shoddy the characterization. The point is not to write gold in the first 30 days. Who writes gold in 30 days? Who says the writer has to stop after the first 30 days, those in November? No one. In fact, it's highly agreed among participants that the idea is to take the 31 days of December to edit the thing into something more readable, to expand wherever necessary, to fill in plot holes, and whatever other tightening up is necessary.

    It isn't any of the things you say in your article, and really, it isn't fair to someone like me, who constantly works on pieces year-round, to perfect the craft. Including several different NaNo projects.

    So shove it.
    Well, I think it is all those things I say in my article, and a year later, I still stand by it. I don't like NaNo, I don't like the values that it encourages, and if you work year around, then why do even bother with that garbage? You might not stop after thirty days, but that doesn't mean that the challenge itself promotes the novel--the challenge promotes self-aggrandizement and overblown egos. People who want to write books will write them. Everybody else is just playing the author home game.

    Quote Originally posted by Unregistered View post
    Fanfic, there's something the original article should've been about.

    You can't even publish it.
    You're right, you can't publish it. What's your point? Do you think all writing should be published in order for it to have value? I write a shitload of fanfic, but the chances are good, I still make more money from writing on a monthly basis than most people.

  4. #52
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    You know, a year and a whole hell of a lot of writing after I first read this article has sort of crystallized my thoughts on this. Is NaNoWriMo fun? Apparently a lot of people do find it fun. Is NaNoWriMo a good excuse to write a whole bunch of stuff? Yep. Does NaNoWriMo replicate what it's like to be a professional writer? Nooooooo.

    If you only have a few hours a day or week to write, it's probably good to have an "event" like this to push you. But being a professional writer isn't fun or a group activity. There are special pleasures to writing and there's certainly a reason why I still work in publishing, but it isn't a game or a contest or something to do for fun. There are many days when I roll out of bed, sit down in front of the computer, and don't move for eight hours except to shake out my hands when they hurt from too much typing. After a week of this I'll emerge from my home, bleary eyed and confused about what day it is, vaguely aware that other human beings exist out there and I used to have friends.

    So I don't have anything against NaNoWriMo as an amateur event to help people write more, but it doesn't even vaguely replicate what amounts to a full time (and then some) job. There's just a disconnect between writing two thousand words an hour for eight hours a day to make a deadline versus writing an average of 1613 words a day for a month to declare yourself a novelist.

  5. #53
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    Default Hmmmm

    I don't think youre giving NaNoWriMo the benefit of the doubt. I started writing when i was in 7th grade, now i'm in 11th. I always had story ideas, plots, etc but as a student i just blew them off - "i'll get to them later" mentality. I understand where youre coming from - seeing it*as a little bit of a cop out, but really, it's not supposed to be taken that way... Or at least i think. This is my first year competing in NaNoWriMo, so i'm not totally sure what to expect. I do expect to exceed 50,000 words though. And i think you're underestimating some of the people 'competing' - there are some fantastic writers in my school alone who are participating.*

    50,000 words is pretty short for a novel - but thats the point. You give yourself a time limit - no matter what you do, just get it done. Its about disciplining yourself to accomplish a fairly tedious task. When i decided to participate i was actually excited about writing again. It gave me a little bit of an adrenaline rush thinking 'oh man i have 7 hours of school, homework, AP classes, and extra cirricular activities and im still supposed to expect myself to do this? BRING IT ON.' its a challenge to yourself to see if in the moment of truth you pull yourself through it. I really couldnt care less about the word goal, and its not about 'winning'. If i dont reach it and 'win', ill still be happy and proud of myself, because it got me started again, motivated me to get the job done. Its not like after november is over you just stop- id probably keep on going and going - i already have a sequel roughly sketched out!*

    The point of it is just unload a brain dump, spew out everything you want this novel to be, and keep *rolling with the punches. Its not going to be pretty - trust me, my word vomiting is horrible. You get your thoughts down and at that moment, you dont worry about editing or formating or grammatical errors. I assume youre thinking (correct me if im wrong) that once a person reaches 50,000 words they think theyre done. On the contrary, for me and others i know its just a starting point. They could have put the goal at 70,000 to 100,000 words plus but in ordinary working and school life, that seems so overwhelming. 50,000 is a fesible, reachable, attainable goal for ones who write but never seem to have the time to.*

    I love books and writing as an art form, (im an avid reader and i want to be an art teacher), and i dont think its butchering writing. Some people, yes, take it as a joke, write nonsense, submit it just to get the certificate and laugh at those who worked their tail off and werent able to finish. But i dont concern myself with those people. Its about self satisfaction. Im a huge procrastinator, and i usually am barely able to scrap by finishing things on time. This for me is a challenge to myself and the ones who had little faith i could do it.

    Its not about bragging rights, to say 'oh i finished 50,000 words in 30 days and you didnt, so that must mean youre a failure.' no. Its about when all is said and done, you sucked it up, pushed through the writers block, got little sleep because you were on a roll, made yourself sit your ass down on the chair and JUST WRITE DAMMIT.*

    And i find it slightly offensive that youre so cynical to begin with. Oh ye of little faith. If someone is enjoying it, writing whether it be fan fiction or adventure or romance, isnt that a good thing? If they accomplish something they thought they couldnt do and feel good about doing it, isnt THAT a good thing? Practice doesnt make perfect but perfecting your practice sets you on the right path. Dont be quick to judge and brush aside the people that truely did work hard and put in the time and effort to finish what they started. Who cares if its just fan fiction, who cares if its crap, who cares if they dont get published immediately afterwards - its all a self empowering thing. No one can make you write, no one is forcing you to compete, its for you to test your abilities to get from start to finish.

    I like the idea of NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzie. No excuses, you make time and you write. You have to be self desciplined, determined, and strong willed to take it on. Im a perfectionist as well, and with nanowrimo, its comforting that i dont HAVE to worry about the details and nit pick at every little thing. That is a huge chunk of time wasted and a huge stress relief for me.*

    I totally and fully respect your opinion, (i love reading and looking at other peoples point of view, because im a nerd like that), but i think you were a little misconcepted on the general feel for nanowrimo, and i hope that maybe, possibly, my whole rant on it was sufficently good enough to broaden your mind a little bit

  6. #54
    Bruno Fehr
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    Default What?

    1. There are no losers, no one speaks about loosing on Nanowrimo. I have yet to find 1 person that didn't reach the 50k words that believes they have lost. I say this because other than English I speak 4 languages and communicate with many people here in Europe form different countries.
    OK, let's not call it "winning", let's call it "reaching the goal"... isn't that a personal victory? Those that reach the 50k words are not winners to the world nor they intend to be, they are winners to themselves because they did something they planned to do. Isn't that winning?

    2. Nanowrimo writers are perfectly aware that 50.000 words is not a novel. The website itself states that very clearly and underlines the difference between a novel and a novella. This proves that your claim "NaNoWriMo Is Nobody's Friend" without even reading what it is all about. The 50.000 words are just a goal to reach, it obviously means that we have another 30 to 100k words to add during the following months if we decide to do it.

    3. Yes, that makes total sense. You are obviously under the impression that those hundreds of thousands of people, all intend to be published. If it wasn't for the poor 50.000 word draft I write in Nanowrimo, I would never have some ideas with a comforting "The End" 10 months latter. Why? Because I never intended to send anything to a publisher, so yes the dedication and time it demanded did scare me away. On the other hand, in music I did have professional intentions and so I spent 10 hours per day practising my entire life. Nanowrimo is used by many people that simply would like to put ideas into words without ever dreaming of becoming a professional writer and this is what the critics of nanowrimo fail to understand. You are a professional writer but you cannot claim that every nano-write wants to be you in 30 days out of 365. Hell, I run a marathon once a year, does it mean I have the secret desire to go to the Olympics? No! I just like it! Nano-writers like to write, that's all.

    4. "Every month is NaNoWriMo for me--because I need to eat and I'm a professional writer." You are, most of us are not nor intend to be. Our 50.000 words of crap are our crap that many will rewrite during the year and others will not. We also need to eat but it is not writing that will pay our food. Like I said, I do 1 marathon per year running against professionals that do it in order to eat, still I am there just to finish my crap running in my crap time far away behind those professionals. This last sentence takes me to your first point: I finish the race and I do not win but I surely don't believe I lost because I did what I set out to do: Finish the race or at least, try!

    Again, you end your text by making the point that all people on nanowrimo want to be published. From my country there are about 170 people. About 6 or 7 claim to desire to become a writer. 3 are published writers but have not published any 50.000 word nano crap, they published 50.000 + many more + several months of hard work. Still every year they are there and we gather ourselves on and offline to talk, discuss ideas, read, write and above all motivate each other to go on, specially those that would like to put food on their tables with writing. In fact, in my country it is almost impossible to become a professional writer, not even our best writers are/were only writers: Fernando Pessoa or even Saramago (became full time writer when he retired and won a Nobel Prize), had to have jobs.

    I like to write without aspirations. Should I not write at all just because I write 50.000 or 100.000 or 300.000 words of crap? It's not like I am forcing you or any one else to read it. If you think so poorly of nanowrimo's November... I can only imagine what you would write about Milwordy that consists on 1 million words of crap in 12 months.

  7. #55
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    Default good points, but

    I agree with all you say here about the quality of writing and the craft and the winning/losing aspects. As a writer and professor, I'd rather see people (in or out of academia) spend "study craft month" rather than "write really quickly month" (not that the two are mutually exclusive).
    I do take slight issue, though, with the "50,000 words is not a novel" comment. GATSBY clocks in right around 50,000 words (and well under 200 pages in book form). It has never been called a novella--to do so here would be a first since its release nearly 90 years ago.
    Duras' THE LOVER is UNDER 50,000 words and is classified as a novel.
    So, while 50,000 words is "arbitrary" for the novel in a month people, it's equally arbitrary to say 50,000 words (by word count alone...I would like people to take time and care in crafting those words) is NOT a novel. There are plenty of published classics that fall right in that range.

  8. #56
    Oliphaunt Jizzelbin's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Unregistered View post
    I agree with all you say here about the quality of writing and the craft and the winning/losing aspects. As a writer and professor, I'd rather see people (in or out of academia) spend "study craft month" rather than "write really quickly month" (not that the two are mutually exclusive).
    I do take slight issue, though, with the "50,000 words is not a novel" comment. GATSBY clocks in right around 50,000 words (and well under 200 pages in book form). It has never been called a novella--to do so here would be a first since its release nearly 90 years ago.
    Duras' THE LOVER is UNDER 50,000 words and is classified as a novel.
    So, while 50,000 words is "arbitrary" for the novel in a month people, it's equally arbitrary to say 50,000 words (by word count alone...I would like people to take time and care in crafting those words) is NOT a novel. There are plenty of published classics that fall right in that range.
    That is hilarious. I once met somebody who was also both a prophet AND a poet. They were the shit.

  9. #57
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    Default Why NaNoWriMo Is Nobodys

    Hey , this isnt really anything to do with fish itself but why is postage so expensive from the usa to the uk

    whilst its real cheap to send from uk to usa?

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