Why NaNoWriMo?

I don’t understand the point of NaNoWriMo. If people spew out 50,000 words in a month, how can any of those words be any good? Unless the writers are very talented, in which case why aren’t they already writing? So why do it? To say they did? I’ve been told that anyone trying to write that fast will write drivel, that the question at the end of the month is: Is it salvagable drivel?

For me, the answer would be no. I’ve been playing around this month with writing quantity rather than quality, and I didn’t get anything except flak from my main character, who thinks I should be working harder to get him to safety. It wasn’t pretty. This is the end of the conversation. You can see the whole thing at my Pat Bertram Introduces blog.

Bertram:
I really want to know. What would be doing if you weren’t talking to me?

Chip:
Going home. I have a cat waiting for me. You’ve left us alone so long, it’s probably gone by now.

Bertram:
Not yet, he’s still waiting for you. And he’s doing well. He’s quite a self-sufficient creature, you know.


Chip:
It. It’s an it, not a he. “He assumes humanness, and it’s a higher life form than any human I’ve ever met.


Bertram:
Okay. It’s waiting for you.


Chip:
I hear that patronizing tone in your voice. I don’t have to put up with it.


Bertram:
Oh, but you do. I’ve pledged to write 2000 words tonight, and since you’re not giving me anything to work with, we’re going to keep at this until you do.


Chip:
What do you need from me?


Bertram:
Something to make you real in my head so that I can hardly wait to work on your story everyday. Something that excites me so that I can’t stop thinking about it.


Chip:
No one can do that. You’ve read so much you’re jaded, and now you expect me to supply the excitement you once found while reading. But at least you’re working again.


Bertram:
But the writing is awful. I can’t use any of it for the book.


Chip:
So? I thought the point was to write whatever flows out of your mind.


Bertram:
I didn’t expect such drivel. I’d hoped for magic.


Chip:
We all hope for magic. Few of us get it.


Bertram:
Now we’re getting somewhere. Did you hope for magic?


Chip:
Maybe.


Bertram:
Then you got it, didn’t you? One day your world was the same as it always was, and the next . . .


Chip:
It changed. Nothing is the same. Nothing is real.


Bertram:
How does that make you feel?


Chip:
What are you, my therapist?


Bertram:
Just answer the question.


Chip:
It makes me feel frightened. Awed. Unsettled. Lonely. Desperate. Excited. Except for the bugs. I can do without
those.


Bertram:
You have to admit, it’s interesting for a character who professes to love animals to have an aversion to bugs.


Chip:
Big bugs. Two-inch beetles. Seven-foot millipedes. Next thing I know, you’re going to have dragonflies with six-foot wingspans.


Bertram:
Great idea, but I don’t want to overdo the bug thing.


Chip:
Believe me, I don’t want you to overdo it either. Can I go home now?


Bertram:
As soon as you give me something to work with.


Chip:
Looks like it’s going to be a very long night.


Comments:
 
shakatoah   shakatoah wrote
on 12/1/2008 7:49:52 PM
Good old Nanowrimo...I tried if for about 10 days...and was already about 10,000 words behind schedule! Then life intervened in the form of sick family...and that was that. I think the experience, as short as it was, taught me the value of a deadline and also showed me how much I actually procrastinate in the course of a day. I wander about thinking of scraps of stories...while I attend to about a million other things apart from actually writing. In that sense, it was valuable...but I'm pretty sure it produced drivel! I posted the first chapter in here...'Out of Bowland'...and no one has commented at all, which I think is a pretty good indication that no one has anything good to say about it...silly me. But I'll leave it there as a testimony to the fact that quality and quantity don't always go hand in hand...at least not for me. There are some authors who do quite well with this method though. Some of the Nanowrimos have ended up being published...and good old Barbara Cartland used to write at a hundred miles an hour, putting a continuous roll of paper in her typewriter and simply hammering it out. We don't have to particularly like her style and genre...but we have to give her credit - she's a very successful writer. I enjoyed your chat with your character...wish they wouldn't become uncontrollable like that, don't you? Just like teenagers really.

PatBertram   PatBertram wrote
on 10/19/2008 12:22:31 PM
Usually he does what he's told, but I opened the gates, and now he won't cooperate.

G_Money   G_Money wrote
on 10/18/2008 1:16:39 AM
Don't you hate it when your characters give you lip? :) I Know this problem!!

PatBertram
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What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it. -- Goethe
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Synopsis
November is National Novel Writing Month, and writers all over the world are gearing up to write 50,000 in the month. This was my attempt to write the required number of words in a day. It isn't pretty. Funny, perhaps, but not pretty.
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