Monday, November 19, 2007

No Na No

I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year, but when a fellow WriMo (hi Leo!) challenged me to race him to write 10,000 words over the weekend, I couldn’t resist. He’d work on his novel; I’d draft a short story I’ve been marinating.

Surely anyone who’s interested already knows about this annual novel-writing frenzy that includes 99,000+ writers in its ninth year this year. But as I wandered around the site yesterday, I peeked into its Young Writers Program (an off-shoot that supports independent writers age 12 and younger, and in-school writing programs in grades K-12) and noticed a couple things to mention here. One is the archive of writing prompts in the Writers Block (if you’re not up for fun, just the merest flip of a brain cell can turn silliness deliciously serious). Another is the downloadable Young Novelist Workbooks, which include NaNo founder Chris Baty’s not-to-be-missed Magna Carta premise -- that what you love most and hate most while reading novels are exactly what you should include and exclude, respectively (and will be easiest/hardest for you to write), in your own novels.

In the end, a weekend of high-velocity writing reminded me to turn off the editor and create ... forward, forward, forward; to "turn the camera out" occasionally (thanks Nancy Beckett!) and be amazed at the surprises a wide angle will capture; and that I need about 100 times more plot than comes easily.

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