Why would you write a novel in a month?

Why not?

Don’t you know your novel will come out badly? Aren’t you aware NaNoWriMo is the plague of good fiction everywhere?

I usually set my expectations really low (as should you if you’re reading this blog) so I get pleasantly surprised along the way. But really, the point is NOT for me to create a polished first draft by the time November is over.

So what’s the deal with NaNoWriMo?

Everyone gets something different out of NaNoWriMo, but I usually treat the event as an exercise. Lots of people compare it to a marathon, which is a good way of looking at it. It’s fun, and I will probably participate almost every year until I die. NaNoWriMo gets me in the habit of writing at a ridiculous pace, researching, creating deadlines for myself, prioritizing my work, and most of all it allows me to experiment with styles and subjects I don’t have experience with. It also provides me with an enthusiastic, frenzied writing community where people are excited about being creative, and jumping the same writing hurdles. Having studied writing, I got to know a lot of my peers through their work, and now that I’m on my own, it’s a little more difficult going solo. The community aspect is something I really miss.

You studied writing? Don’t you write, like, REAL literature? Why waste your time writing this goofy stuff?

First: Ewww! Second: Yeah, sometimes I do write literary stuff! It can be challenging, and fun, and complex. That said, writing literary fiction can be particularly difficult during NaNoWriMo (though people certainly do it). You’re writing so much that all nuance is lost as you’re trying to make your word count. However, I find emerging themes in my novel anyway, and they’ll come up naturally. I learn something new about my own writing every time I participate.

Also, literary fiction is kind of the vegetables of literature, and we’re told all the time that vegetables are good for you and we should be reading them to expand our minds or get our vitamins or whatever. But even a vegetable lover like me needs to find time to treat herself to a warm, delicious, starchy mac n cheese casserole from straight out of the oven. The weather’s getting colder; doesn’t that sound so delicious right now?

Okay, I’ll bite. How do you plot a novel?

I’m glad you asked! Take a peek at my writing resources page for a list some links that helped me!

Do you know anything about China?

No, not really. I’ve never been to Hong Kong, I don’t speak the language, I wasn’t even alive in 1983. Everything I’m writing about is new territory.