Hello reader, and welcome (back) to Writer Central!
Today we’re discussing something that I’ve discussed before…so I guess you could call it a “re-discussion.” I’ll be talking about NaNoWriMo, a writerly organization for writers of all ages and stages. It stands for “National Novel Writing Month,” and in case you couldn’t tell, the basic, overall goal is to write a novel in a month.
Each person attempts to reach a 50,000 word count for the month of November. (However, there are Camp NaNoWriMo’s in April and July, and here you can set your own word count goal.)
Now, depending on the type of person that you are, NaNoWriMo could inflict some problems for you. For overwriters, a person who writes more than they should and ends up having to trim it down, NaNoWriMo can be a disastrous idea. I know that I am an overwriter. Last November my manuscript grew to be 114,000 words, but that was an entire document of crap and stupid, repetitive sentences and dialogue. It was awful.
Underwriters have their own problems, too. Underwriters are the writers who write just the basic skeleton of the manuscript, and end up having to add more meat to those bones later on. I can see how this could effect the novel, though – the writer could speed up and finish their story long before the end of the month, and not even be half of the way to 50,000.
You’re going to have to learn to control your speed and not focus primarily on word count. Focus instead on scenes, or chapters. Because word count goals can be disastrous if you aren’t careful, especially if you’re naturally a competitive and determined person.
So, are you a plotter, or a pantser, or somewhere in between? If you are a plotter, you’ll know everything that happens in your story, every character’s name – basically, you’ll have the whole story already mapped out in your head…or at least try to have it that way.
If you’re a pantser, you probably won’t know your protagonist’s name until somewhere in the middle of the month. You have no idea where your story’s going, but you’re writing it anyway. I know I wouldn’t get past two chapters at that rate. I would get lost before I passed the fourth chapter and my story would be a mess. I know this because last year I semi-pantsed and my manuscript was…terrible. I found out the hard way that I’m much more of a plotter, and this year I made an outline and have been figuring things out a bit better.
Figure out what works for you personally. I’d say that plotting is a more professional road to take, and it’s much easier in the long run (though harder at the beginning). Pantsing is vice versa. Everyone is different, and will have a different writing style.
That’s all for today. If you’re participating in this July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, comment below! If you have a question or idea, contact me and I’ll get back to you. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you next time on Writer Central.