If you’re bold and/or crazy enough to sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), then you know it begins November 1. On that day, thousands of people will write the words “Once upon a time” and then work feverishly to complete another 49,996 words by November 30.
For those of us who may falter, a panel of inspiring people has been assembled to provide pep talks during the month. They will, I believe, remind us that we have it in us, that we have what it takes, that we can go the distance, that we can just do it.
The NaNoWriMo folks remind us going in just why we’re doing this: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
My primary reason for writing 50,000 words in one month is avoiding Georgia’s leaf raking season. As of November 1, it is considered excessive gauche to continue “taking care of” the leaves in one’s yard by mowing them into nowhere. If you have a leaf vac, you’re in business. If you don’t, it’s rake city. I, on the other hand, will be churning out words.
We’ve been warned not to fudge on this. It is also considered gauche to begin writing a 300,000-word novel in January or even 20 years ago, and then dump it into the NaNoWriMo system while screaming, “hey suckers, look at me.”
Having taken the pledge to go the distance and just do it, I am contemplating several novels that have been waiting on the drawing board. Among them are:
One Flew Over the Vulture’s Nest: a cautionary tale about the lives and loves of a roadkill cleanup crew.
The Girl Who Kicked The Outhouse Door: A girl “who just can’t wait” kicks open the door to a campground privy and discovers all that glitters is not gold.
Chipmunk Steals Squirrel’s Nuts: A chipmunk born with crooked stripes sneaks into squirrel’s house one dark and stormy night and grabs all the nuts, leading to a caper that eventually turns everyone in the 100-acre wood against each other.
I know I have it in me even though I’m not sure yet what “it” is or how “it” will end. But the point is, it doesn’t matter because on the morning after eating two or three sacks of Halloween candy, we’re supposed to work off those calories by writing faster than a bat can fly out of hell.
At the end of the month, we’ll all swap war stories, tell lies about how we did whatever we did, and then take a nap.
Coming Friday, October 22: An interview with author L. E. Harvey
You May Also Like: End of Earth Rescheduled (from Jock Stewart and the “Morning Satirical News”)
–Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire, a bold and crazy novel about a reporter who thinks writing 50,000 words in a month is child’s play, especially if he has plenty of Scotch.