Saturday, November 03, 2007

NaNoWriMo: I'm not a Fan

I have a confession to make: I do not like National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo. While I want to be supportive of my friends who find it useful for their writing exercises, the mere concept of making myself write 50 thousand words in one month gives me a headache. I want to simplify my life, not clutter it. I appreciate Cloudscome's haiku and Tricia's poetry exercises for their focus on brevity and precision. Prose allows for more words, but I want it to be just as focused.

Sometimes, I find Sean Lindsay of 101 Reasons to Stop Writing refreshing in his humorous cynicism about the glut of bad writing. I am appreciative of HipWriterMama for her encouragement of aspiring writers, but I'm also ever hopeful that the writers' products are stories that waste no words.

To counteract the effects of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to offer six word stories again. Guess the literary allusions of these offerings:

1) Heading home. Twenty years later... home.
2) "Marry me." "Never!" Later: "Nice mansion!"
3) My better half stole my girlfriend.
4) "Magic does not exist." "Oh yeah?"

Answers (highlight to view) :
1) The Odyssey
2) Pride and Prejudice
3) Anansi Boys
4) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell


Eric Herman said...

I like your six word stories, Alkelda. They remind me of a literary game I've played with some friends before, where you try to find the best way to shorten a play or movie or book.

Probably the best example is:

Page 1, Scene 1: ENTER GODOT

Another example...

My Fair Lady
Pickering: Sorry, Higgins... I'm not a betting man.

Think of the hours that could be saved, so we could all play more video games! :o)

TadMack said...

Goodness, I'm glad someone else said this out loud.

I hate NaNoWriMo. Word-counts and deadlines are not, to me, the essence of what a first draft should be in any way shape or form. The Muse cannot be hurried or confined to a month or forced to produce. For people who struggle to come up with ideas, it might be a good thing, but it completely freezes anything remotely resembling creativity in me, and makes writing competitive. I really dislike that aspect.

Leila is doing a National Read Novel Month - she's reading Rebecca and blogging on it a little at a time. A much better idea.

TadMack said...

Oh. Could #2 also be Gone With the Wind? I'm terrible at these things.

Lone Star Ma said...

I can't see the answers. I think number one is The Odyssey, but I don't know the others. I think NaNoWriMo would probably help someone like many few that reach completeion. If I could actually force myself to finish a first draft, then take my time improving it, I think it would be good. I honestly don't have the time to write that much that fast, though. I think I am going to interpret the challenge this year as encouragement to get an issue of LSM put together well this month!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Eric: That's a good game! I'll remember it for the car.

TadMack: I could totally get behind a National Novel-Reading Month. For some reason, producing a short-story in a week seems much more appealing to me than cramming a year's work into a month.

LSM: Here are the answers:
1) The Odyssey
2) Pride and Prejudice
3) Anansi Boys
4) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

HipWriterMama said...

There are days when I struggle to write 100 great words, let alone the 1,000 that I try to set as a daily goal.

Great six word stories. How did you do the highlight thing? Very, very cool.

Phil said...

I just don't understand why they chose November for NaNoWriMo. The project is hard enough to follow through without having a major holiday like Thanksgiving in there. Why not have it in February? No one's doing anything in February and it's usually the depths of the winter blahs.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HWM: When you write your blog post in compose mode, select the text you want, and then select the color of your blog background (in your case, white as well). Et voila, you can post spoilers and no one has any reason to get cross with you.

Phil: Thanksgiving is at the end of the month. No more excuses, you! Besides, in February everyone is busy studying Black History and bemoaning that there's no one to smooch during Valentine's Day.

Tricia said...

I'm with you. It's only November 4th and I've already blown NaBlWriMo. Oh well. I don't do well with deadlines, and I think I'd write utter trash for NaNoWriMo. The reason I like doing the weekly stretches is that they force me to try new forms and work on being concise. I don't always hit the mark, but I feel better just having tried.
I love your six word stories. I recently finished #4 and loved it. And #2, well, I read that one every year to kick off my summer.

limpy99 said...

I got the Odyssey, but went 0-3 the rest of the way.

Here's one.

Long trip with a bad ring.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Limpy99: To answer your riddle, the protagonist has hairy toes!

Tricia: Thanks! And you've reminded me that actually I need to get back to participating in your weekly stretches.

Cloudscome said...

You are so clever! I love your six word stories and your highlighted secret answers. I don't think I could ever write that many thousand words every day for a month. A haiku a day... more my speed. I'm trying it anyway.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Cloudscome: Once, when I was a freshman in college and dating someone, I wrote a poem a day. I attribute the fact that I was dating someone to my abundance of verse as helping to redirect my raging hormones so that I could clear my mind to write. It's awful to admit, but when we broke up, I thought, "Shoot, I hope my writing-streak doesn't dry up."

For some time after that, people asked me, "Are you still writing a poem a day?" The answer was, "No, I'm not," but I never told them why.

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks! I'll have to try this sometime.