First Time Doing NaNoWriMo

11 Oct

Well, National Novel Writing Month is coming up fast, and in the spirit of getting more writing done, I’ve signed up for my first NaNoWriMo.  Will I win?  I don’t know.  Probably not, but then again, maybe…  I’ve never done it before, so I can’t make an accurate prediction about how far I will get.

One thing a lot of authors experience, more unpublished than published, is having more story ideas than they have the time to write.  I know I have a lot of stories kicking around that I have not had the time to write.  So, I’m taking NaNo as my oppurtunity to work on one of these stories.  I’m going to try shutting off my inner editor, and just writing all the way to 50,000 words and beyond. 

One of my greatest hang-ups in terms of acually beginning to write a story is that my inner editor neven lets me forget that what ends up on the paper will fall far short of what I had imagined in my head.  But the goal of NaNo as I see it is not even so much to write a coherent part of a novel.  Despite the name, it’s more about throwing down those fifty-thousand words.  50,000 words is not a novel, so there’s  not too much point in insisting on other novel conventions.  Psychologically, this can allow a writer to be more relaxed in terms of product, which means they can be more relaxed while writing, and it is this which allows them to churn out 50,000 words of utter crap (or not).  Which is in and of itself an achievement that many apsiring writers never get to claim.

I encourage anyone who likes writing, or even just reading, to go out and give NaNoWriMo a try.  I don’t plan to obsessively report on my progress here as I’ve seen other bloggers do, but I am interested in doing a follow-up post once the contest is over, to see how others did, and what kind of experience they had with NaNo.

For anyone who is planning to give NaNo a try this year, whether they are first-timers or veterans, I want to wish you the best of luck.  You will need it.


Here is a link to the NaNoWriMo site:

Here is one to my profile:

The story I am currently planning to write on for NaNo is a fantasy story with a working title of  The Stone Tower.  Not very oiginal maybe, but it fits and it’s easy to remember, which is what working titles should do.

The specific genre description is “Dark Urban Secondary World Mythic Fantasy”.  I have summed this up in my compact little genre of “Chimney-punk”.  Mostly a tongue in cheek title referncing Steam-punk ( as opposed to being derived directly from cyberpunk).  Not that I have anything against steam-punk.  One of my favorite genres.

Alternatively, if I decide not to use this story, I will probably be writing a space opera.  Not at all contradictory.  Not at all.


Posted by on October 11, 2009 in atsiko, Chimney-punk, Writing


Tags: , , ,

6 responses to “First Time Doing NaNoWriMo

  1. ralfast

    October 11, 2009 at 3:16 AM

    I like NaNo, but I have to disagree with you on the idea that 50K words manuscript is not a novel. It may be on the short side, but should not be dismissed just on the wordcount alone.

  2. atsiko

    October 11, 2009 at 4:27 AM

    50,000 words is on the bottom edge of novel wordcount. So yes, 50,000 words could technically be a novel, or a rough draft, especially if the writer is one of those who adds through revision.

    But, I was speaking generally. To my (admittedly limited) knowledge, most projects started during NaNo are not completed then. They often go _on_ to being completed. But many people also end up with more than 50,000 words, so again, we are talking loosely.

    Some genres of novels are shorter, around 65,000 words. Some are longer, around 250,000 words. But nano seems to attract a lot of fantasy and sci-fi writers, which tend towards 85,000-100,000+ words, so 50,000 has a smaller chance of being a novel. But then again, YA novels in those genres tend to be shorter.

    So, to sum up, you are right. 50,000 words can be a novel. But it usually isnt a _complete_ novel.

  3. ralfast

    October 11, 2009 at 4:05 PM

    Well I did expand on my first NaNo, although I can’t tell you exact word count right now (65K+). But my first novel is around 50K (commercial fiction) which is a complete work.

  4. atsiko

    October 11, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    Is it YA or MG? I mean, I know certain categories run to smaller wordcounts, but it seemed from the forums that many if not most people were going to be working on longer books.

    I guess I was looking at it too much from my own perspective, since I write adult spec-fic, which tends towards the longer side of word-count.

    I didn’t mean to marginalize genres with shorter lengths.

  5. Beth

    October 11, 2009 at 10:11 PM

    Best of luck with the NaNo! I find that I have too many ideas, so this year I’m doing a collection of short stories.
    Last year I completed a first draft. I’m hoping this year to have a few workable stories.

  6. atsiko

    October 12, 2009 at 3:24 AM

    Thanks, Beth. Good luck on your short stories.

    I’m really looing forward to NaNo, because all-out, non-stop writing isn’t usually how I do it, but it would be so great if I could have half of a novel draft written by the end of November. I have a lot of free time in December, so it works out great as far as fleshing out, revising and finishing the book goes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: