The NaNoWriMo Dialogues: Day Zero
You: Holy shit. National Novel Writing Month.
Me: I know, right? Almost here.
You: *whistles* NaNoWriMo. Is it “ree-mo,” or “wry-mo?”
Me: I seriously don’t know. Follow your bliss, I guess?
You: Are you, ahh, doing anything around these parts for the ol’ NaNoWriMo? This is, after all, a writing blog, so I assume…
Me: Well. This isn’t really a writing blog. This is an author’s portfolio-flavored ranty-hole where writing is occasionally — okay, frequently — discussed. I also talk about applesauce. But yes, I am going to do a specific thing for the month of November. This blog post — this “dialogue” between Me and the imaginary writer that is You — is part of it, actually. The very first part. Chapter Zero. The Prologue, if you will.
You: *snerk* Imaginary. Good one.
Me: Hey, whatever lets you sleep at night, Captain Howdy.
You: So, what are these dialogues?
Me: Sort of a casual way to explore the… weird nutty-ass journey that takes you from Not Having The First Draft Of A Novel to Having The First Draft Sorta Maybe Kinda Done.
You: Sorta maybe kinda?
Me: Well, 30 days is a pretty short haul for writing a novel. And 50k is technically novel-length, but publishers are likely going to be reticent about a novel of that length unless it’s young adult, but whatever. And what you finish may not look like much of a book yet…
You: Are you giving the stinkeye to NaNoWriMo, bro?
Me: Nope. I did, once, admittedly, because I tried it and it really didn’t work for me — in fact, it had negative consequences. It made me feel like shit for a little while about the whole writing thing. And back then I was naive enough to assume that when something does or does not work for me it obviously has to be that way for anybody else because we’re all the same precious snowflake, AND I AM MOST PRECIOUS OF THEM ALL. Which is not true, and of course everyone has a process as unique to them as a strand of DNA. What works, works, and NaNoWriMo works for some people very well.
You: What works about NaNoWriMo?
Me: It gets you used to being on deadline. It forces you to write every day to meet that deadline. It teaches you that if you want to Do This Thing called “writing” then the only way out is through. Really, it teaches you to finish your shit, which is a core tenet of being a writer. And one so few writers manage. Now, that’s not to say I think it’s an ideal writing plan (if such a thing exists).
You: This is where I ask you what’s not ideal about it.
Me: This is that time, yes.
You: *waits more*
Me: *stares harders*
You: Holy piss-lasers, you have a very intense stare.
Me: It’s actually the beard. It grows darker as I stare. All the hairs point toward you slowly, gently, but with great and sinister certainty.
You: Fine, I’ll ask: what’s not ideal about NaNoWriMo?
Me: Being in November doesn’t help. Start of the holiday season, and for me the whole week around Thanksgiving is a swirling vortex of chaos and gravy. And again, it’s worth noting that NaNoWriMo is for some an effective process, but it might not be your effective process. Maybe your process is writing 350 words a day. Maybe it’s taking three months instead of one. Maybe it’s eating peyote in a lighthouse while wearing a rain slicker made from whale leathers. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it can be like cramming a square peg in a monkey’s urethra.
You: You have a thing about monkeys.
Me: Monkeys are always funny.
You: You also have a thing about pee-holes.
Me: Pee-holes are always funny, too. These are comedy laws, I’m sorry if you don’t like them. But like climate change and gravity, this shit is real.
You: Fair enough. So, are you doing NaNoWriMo?
Me: I’m doing NaWriEvMoMoFo.
You: What is that? Did you just summon something from the bleak beyond?
Me: National Write Every Month, Motherfucker. Writing is my job. My full-time gig. MY INKY JAMZ, MAN. Has been for a long time — every month for me is NaNoWriMo. That being said, I will be coincidentally starting a new novel on November 1st. I’ll be jumping into the third Heartland book, tentatively titled The Seven. (Shameless plug time: the first book, Under the Empyrean Sky, is $1.99 for Kindle until the close of October 31st. The second book, Blightborn, is through editing and should be out… summer, 2014?)
You: You really are shameless.
Me: Shame is a limitation I can no longer afford.
You: Whatever, weirdo. *pinches area between eyes and nose* So, any last minute preparations I should make going into this thing, boss?
Me: If you haven’t outlined, that’s an option.
Me: I know. I agree. Outlining is a total junk-punch, but for me, it helps. I’d rather fuck up a three-page outline than a 300-page novel. The first one is easy to fix. Repairing the other one is positively Sisyphean. And an outline doesn’t need to be the traditional Roman numeral line-item plotty bullshit, either. You have lots of options for how to prep and scheme.
You: Yeah, I’m pretty much not gonna outline at this point.
Me: Whatever juices your mango.
You: What else you got? Come on, come on.
Me: I wrote a thing the other day about character creation. Down and dirty, quick and simple. But lots of depth in there, I think. A puddle that looks shallow but is in fact surprisingly deep and may contain a Kraken. Because, every puddle needs a Kraken.
You: Words to live by.
Me: Not really.
You: All right, fine. We should probably finish up here. This is going on a bit long.
Me: In this, we have an accord.
You: So, what’s the deal here again? At the blog?
Me: Ah, right, we didn’t hit that base. Each week I’ll be here two, maybe three times, doing more of these NaNoWriMo Dialogues with Totally-Not-Imaginary You, and we’ll hit a lot of the perils and pitfalls of the NaNoWriMo journey. So, hang with me, and we’ll talk it out. And maybe some readers will join in the comments and air their Novel-Flavored Triumphs and Grievances, as well.
You: Cool. Last minute words of encouragement?
Me: Fuck the haters. Do the work. Finish your shit. You are the commander of your words, the king of the story, the god of this place. You’re done fucking around, so write, write, and write some more. Plus, there’s the whole NaNoWriMo writing bundle thing, hint-hint.
You: So shameless.
Me: So shameless I don’t have shame about my lack of shame.
You: A veritable shamelessness spiral.
Me: Yep. Oh, and one more thing: ART HARDER, MOTHERFUCKER.
*everything explodes in a mighty fistsplosion*