NaNoWriMo Mania: One Month, One Novel


Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes WEbook veterans will probably remember William Tiernan (penname:TsungChi) who was an editor for WEbook's 101 Things Every Man Should Know, and our community specialist. Anyone who keeps up with writing news is also probably aware that November is The National Novel Writing Month, and it's almost here. 

Well, it just so happens that William will be participating in the NaNoWriMo experience, so we decided to have him document his journey on the WEbook blog. Throughout the month, he'll share his successes, failures, and everything in between via regular blog installments. We also encourage anyone else participating in the NaNoWriMo to contribute their own perspective in the comments section.

The official kick-off is next Monday, but here's a little intro to get everyone warmed up and ready for the long haul.

Take it away, William!

Think you’ve got what it takes to write a 50,000-word novel? Whip up a detailed outline. Write a first draft. Scrap it. Write a second draft. Burn it. Write a third draft. Tolerate it. Rework it. Slash paragraphs and add new ones. Revise and revise and revise until each sentence is perfect. Finally, a polished manuscript. And the entire process only took up a year of your life.

Now imagine writing the same 50,000-word novel in 30 days. No, not 300. 30! Broken down into digestible chunks, that’s 11,627 words per week; or 1,677 words per day; or 70 words per hour; or 1.1574 words per minute. No matter how you type it - PC, Mac, iPad, Netbook, or typewriter - that's a handful of writing.

I'm of course referring to NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. The NaNoWiMo website touts November as “Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon.” The end goal: a 50,000-word novel - or NaNo.  

A literary cheetah would love the NaNo: it transforms the novel writing process from marathon to 100-meter dash. The NaNo won't let you obsess over word choice and sentence structure. It won't let you endlessly revise paragraphs. And it won't let you sleep much. What it will do is silence your internal editor. It will liberate you from writer’s perfectionism. And it just may liberate you from your day job, friends, family members, pets, and significant others. Whether any of this is good or bad is entirely up to you.

Nano_09_winner There are huge benefits for participation. First, it's social. Join me and other WEbookers here in the blog to share NaNo successes and setbacks, swap plots ideas and conflicts, invent creative ways to kill off pesky character, procrastinate, or just keep each other awake. Second, NaNoWriMo awards a winner's certificate to those who cross the finish line. Third, the satisfaction of finishing a novel. Finally, the product. It’s not going to be perfect, but your NaNo may prove to be a perfect springboard to that polished manuscript. Heck, maybe it will lead to an agent down the road! Some quality stuff has to surface from hundreds of hours of concentrated writing, right?  

My 2008 NaNo fizzled out at 30,000 words, but I’m jumping back in for 2010. I just finished the manuscript for my first YA novel; what better time to bang out a sequel? Start formulating your characters and plots. Just 3 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes until November...

WilliamSTiernan William Scott Tiernan will happily respond to “William” or “Scott” or “Tsung Chi” — and he enjoyed being called “Mr. T” by his former middle school students. He doesn’t enjoy being called “Hey, you!” by his 3-year-old daughter. He may be 0-1 on NaNo, but he’s written for
YourTango, The Laurel of Asheville, Western North Carolina Parent, and of course, WEbook. He’s seeking representation for his YA novel, Dornoch Walking.


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  1. I’m very psyched about participating again this year as well! My goal is to have the sequel to the novel I have here on WEbook finished.
    I’m somewhat disappointed with the early organization issues my local group is having. The first meeting wasn’t announced via email until the morning of the event - and no directions were given to the location.
    With Google maps this shouldn’t have been a tremendous issue, but for some reason the group leader chose to call the location by its familiar local name, instead of its proper business name. This little communication break down led to only three participants in attendance.
    The social aspects of the online community and the local group activities are a tremendous part of what makes NaNoWriMo so special, and so much fun to participate in. I really hope these guys in my local area get it together by the completion date - so we can all meet to celebrate reaching the finish line!

  2. This is amazing! I've heard about the experience but have never participated...maybe the blog will inspire me into action. William, maybe you could kill two birds (blog and manuscript) with one stone (contest) and draft a tale about a guy who has only 30 days to create the greatest work of literature this world has ever seen...
    Good luck! I'm excited to follow your progress!

  3. Thanks for doing a feature on it! I recently heard about NaNoWriMo and am participating in it for the first time.

  4. I'll be participating this year as well. Nanowrimo has never failed me before, and it's always been such a great experience. There is much to be gained by this madman competition, even if you don't win.

  5. This is going to be my first year of NaNo and I'm so excited (not to mention terrified). I'm so glad that there's a feature on it - I think most people would benefit from the experience of this kind of literary abandon :)

  6. I would really like to participate this year, last year I only got 100 words done, though I was in Year 11 then and didn't have much time to do it. At the moment I'm bored to death and I think I will benefit from writing a story this NaNoWriMo!

  7. I wrote a novel last November (technically I started it in late October, but I took a few days off midway through) but I wasn't aware of NaNoWriMo till midway through the process.
    This year I'm doing it properly, though I'd ideally like to end up with closer to 75,000 words (if not more). Currently trying to decide which of my ideas-for-novels is the best bet to run with...

  8. Great to see so many people jumping in! Good idea WordsandMusic to have a local writing group. Wish I had thought of that.
    What's everyone writing about? My brain is on overdrive trying to hash out plot points and characters.

  9. definitely doing NaNoWriMo all my friends are really excited and we're taking bets on who will be able to finish the whole 50,000 words!

  10. Sheikh mohammed samir29 October 2010 at 20:23

    I am participating in this for the first time. got a little goosebumps but will manage it.

  11. This will be my first NaNoWrMo year ever and I'm so excited! I doubt I'll meet the target as I ahve college and stuff to handle this month but I will try my best.
    Does anyone have any advice or anything for a first time NaNoWrMo-er?

  12. 1. Try to stick to a schedule ... carve out 2-3 hours a day for writing.
    2. Write that book you've always been dying to write. Write what you know/love - the ideas will flow more easily and keep you motivated.
    3. Lots of comfort food.
    4. Skip Thanksgiving ... :)

  13. I'm signed up for the first time, and really looking forward to it. I'll be staying up till after midnight so I can start writing at the first possible opportunity. I've got pizza and crisps and drinks, So I'm ready.
    What makes it interesting, for me, is that I haven't done an outline or anything, even though they say you can. (It's just the actual text of the story which you can't start in advance - a pity, maybe, since it might have been nice to use this as an excuse to take one of my failed PageToFames and expand it, but on the other hand I think I'll enjoy starting from scratch.)
    All I know is that my writing will probably be Sci-Fi or fantasy, because that's what I consider myself relatively good at. And from that nothing, if all goes well, a novel will grow. Hopefully. Please wish me luck.
    Good look to everyone else! I'll look forward to seeing all your novels.

  14. I believe I am going to take a stab at it as well. I'm going to write a murder mystery.
    The last thing I need to do is take away from my other two manuscripts right now but what the heck...I'm in.

  15. NaNo is such a sadsistic and cruel activity...
    Count me in!

  16. This will be my second year of Nano! Great concept--if only I could be disciplined to write this much the rest of the year.

  17. my first year, very excited. got my outline and started the first chapter of my novel, I will be letting you know of my progress.

  18. Yes, I too am participating in the Nano competition. This it's a great idea.


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