1 month to go

I first heard of NaNoWriMo a few years ago and I’ve always thought that I definitely want to try it some time. Well, this year I’m finally going to do it. Or at least make a really good attempt. I have a brand new laptop (Dell Inspiron 1420) that is lightweight and comfortable to lug around to wherever I’m inspired to go, yesterday I organized a big rubbermaid tub full of “writing stuff” (things I’ve written, quotes, lots of journals/notebooks and other supplies, etc.), and I have been pondering what to write about.

More than topic, I have been pondering the big preparation question: to outline or not to outline? On the one hand, if I am going to endeavor to write 50,000 words in 30 days, it might be good to have it all planned out. On the other hand… what’s the fun in that? Besides, a professor I had in college pointed out that if you outline you run the risk that with an ending in mind, all your characters will do is get there. I like when my characters dominate and tell me, “Listen, this is what happened to me and you just have to sit there and write it out for me.” I like feeling like a stenographer as my characters dictate, and I like being surprised by the twists and turns as much as my readers will be.

NaNoWriMo rules state that although you can not pre-write any of the prose in your novel, you can prepare. If I don’t do an outline, how much preparation should I do? That I guess will come when I have ideas for the subject. At this point I have no clue what I will write about. I know I don’t want to turn a short story I’ve written into a novel. But I do have a work in progress that never quite got off the ground. As I wrote it as a short story I realized there was more going on with the characters than I could fit into a story. I even pulled out a pair of characters thinking I would give them their own story in hopes of salvaging the whole thing. But now I’m rethinking it, and maybe it finally is time to write that novel.

So I guess that’s what I’ll do. I’ll spend some time this month planning ideas and reading the old and figuring out how to make it new and better and whole. I might change my mind, but I have a month before the writing will start, so that is plenty of time to work on the ideas. Who knows? If I complete NaNoWriMo, maybe I will actually do edits and pursue publication. Right now, I am definitely up for the challenge, and I can’t wait for the site to open up for registration tonight.