Eve of November — NaNoWriMo, NaPiBoIdMo, Halloween, and more

Literature Blogs
November’s a crazy month for challenges. What to dress up for for Halloween. When to buy the candy so I don’t eat it all before October 31.( Granted, October is a month earlier, or just a second earlier if you stay up for the midnight hour.) Then comes All Saint’s Day, Thanksgiving, a family birthday, and writing a novel in a month.

Thirteen years ago, Chris Baty came up with NaNoWriMo as a novel-writing challenge with his friends — to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. His challenge has blossomed to thousands (millions?) of participants. Last November, Tara Lazar started NaPiBoIdMo for coming up with one picture book idea a day throughout the month. I already started a notebook for this year’s NaPiBoIdMo. I know there’s also a challenge for illustrators. And how many others?

I would like to add my 2 cents here about word-count for NaNoWriMo. Being inspired to write ANY amount new for this challenge is a hip-hip-hurrah. My son wrote 5,000 words on his first novel last year, but it was 5,000 more than he’d written before.

One published writing friend (waves to Shutta) is adapting NaNoWriMo to write 30,000, as that is the average word-count for a middle grade book. But for me, I need the full 50,000 words for a book, for under pressure, I end up writing lots of junk (i.e., in marathon writing challenges like this, I don’t edit as I type), so I MUST go over that 30,000 to get any good stuff down.

Last year during NaNoWriMo, I was a winner, i.e., made it to the 50,000 words. (My first year was OHMANWHAT’SGOINGON!) Through the next two months, I sliced out all the non-essentials — backstory, biographies, scenes which didn’t forward the plot, etc. — to come up with a whopping 3,000 words of actual story, but it was an excellent skeleton. By May the story was up to 51,000 and ready for a major revision, which I considered my first revision. So, 30,000 is a reasonable and attainable goal for a MG for November. But for me, I need those extra 20,000 words to make a 30,000 word book. (Ah, the wonders of rewrites and revisions!)

Good luck to each of you taking up November challenges. (And don’t forget to hug your family members from time to time.)

Now… do I get any change back from my 2 cents?

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