Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo Countdown

We've got eight days until the kickoff of NaNoWriMo 2012, and this last week before the craziness begins is a terrific opportunity to organize in advance what you'll need to write your novel in November.

I'll be putting up a series of posts this week with things to hopefully help you do that, but before we dive into all the details and logistics let's take a moment to talk about the why. As in, why do this, this crazy thing, this impossible task of writing a novel in thirty days?

You might not know it, but you have more than a novel inside you. Actually, you have an entire library in your head. Its shelves are packed with your ideas and your dreams and your experiences and your longings. Your imagination is like a librarian who keeps acquiring all this stuff; she works tirelessly and endlessly to sort through it and catalogue it and have it ready for use. Your use, because you are this library's only patron.

Writing is about opening the doors to that library and bringing the stories shelved in it out into our world. At first it's going to be just for you and the page, but even that sharing is not an easy thing to do. Writing is not simply putting words on paper in coherent order; it's an act of creation. It takes courage to make that attempt, to make what resides only in your head into something real. So it's okay to be a little scared, and doubtful, and worried. Trust me, the rest of us are right there with you. On November 1st me and many of your writer pals and thousands of others all over the planet will be opening up the doors to our idea libraries and bringing out our stories. If you do this, you'll be writing along with the world.

So there are my thoughts on the why. In the meantime, if you haven't yet settled on what sort of story you want to write, now would also be an advantageous moment to make that decision. If you have a lot of ideas and aren't sure how to pick the best from them, I talked about my method in this post.

Making up a title for your book now can be fun, too. Input keywords about your story concept into Wordle and let it recombine them; often the clouds it produces include some interesting pairings. You can also search's verse database with your story keywords to look for title ideas from poems. This title doesn't have to be anything you chisel in stone, either. If you can't think of anything that works even temporarily call it your NaNo 2012 Novel, or Scrambled Eggs, or whatever comes to mind (I once wrote a novel with a working title of Carnival Geek because those were the two words that inspired the whole idea.)

If you're planning to join in NaNoWriMo 2012, in comments let us know what you'll be writing, where you'll be posting about your progress, or anything else you'd like to share.


  1. I always knew I had an inner librarian!

    I've decided to jump into writing Steampunk, but with a huge slice of horror/mystery thrown in (and automatons, gotta' have automatons). I'll be doing the updatey-progress thing from ze blog, though I'll have lots of real life people cheering me on this year. My coworkers, friends, and family are really supportive/as nutty as I am.

    Working title is stolen (ahem, inspired by) a Radiohead song title "Cobwebs Out of the Sky." Most of my working titles are appropriated from songs. I even have the playlist ready!

    Best of luck on your NaNo adventure everyone!

  2. I'm participating in NaNo and I did something similiar to what you did a while ago, asking readers to choose what I should write. I'm intrigued and excited to be trying my hand with a story in the area of literary fiction, which I've never ever tried before.
    However, with every day now I get more nervous because I feel I'm not getting enough planning done! I hope I'll feel more confident next week...

  3. I love your posts, it makes us to think deeply and creates some kind of motivation. Yes i believe every human mind is their own library, compiled of their dream novels, life teaching novels, happy novels and all their experiences. Writing is an specialized skill.

  4. I'll be doing NaNo this year, and am getting back to writing after a couple of years off. To attempt to make this an easy transition, I'm doing a YA novel, written in blog format - I thought it would be a fun modern version of a story told by journal entries.

    My journey will be detailed (more or less) on my own blog, ... I just hope I don't get sick of writing fake blog posts for the novel, and end up avoiding my own blog!


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