The third week of October is nigh and my thoughts have turned to that annual November endeavor. No, I’m not talking about No Shave November; I am referring to National Novel Writing Month, otherwise affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. This will be my second time participating – well, actually third, because I guided teens through it the last two years although the first time I just pretended to participate, so technically it doesn’t count. I was serious last year and I got in the neighborhood of 30,000 or 35,000 words. This year I am determined to make it across the 50K finish line.
As part of getting my head into NaNo (or is that WriMo – it seems to vary from person to person) I started reading the Chris Baty Everything-NaNo book, “No Plot? No Problem!” I also updated my online NaNo profile and signed my Form #A30/31/50K – Noveling Affidavit. It required a witness and I grabbed the nearest sentient life form. So, I think I’m pretty set.
I am enjoying Baty’s book with it’s tongue-in-cheek humor and cheerful encouragement. Over the next few days, I’ll share some of his thoughts. Following is a short passage from pages 8 & 9 on the topic of authors, as viewed from Baty’s 1999 NaNoWriMo virgin perspective.
“That love of books, I think, was the saving grace of the whole enterprise. However unseriously we had agreed to take the writing process, we had an absolute reverence for the novels themselves…
If we loved books, we were equally awestruck by their creators. Novelists were clearly a different branch of Homo Sapiens; an enlightened subspecies endowed with a monstrously overdeveloped understanding of the human condition and the supernatural ability to spell words properly.
Novelists, we knew, had it made. They got fawned over in book stores, and were forever pestered for insights on their genius in newspapers and magazines. They had license to dress horribly, wear decades-out-of-date hairstyles, and have their shortcomings interpreted as charming quirks and idiosyncrasies rather than social dysfunctions.
Best of all, novel writing was for them a lifetime sport, one of the few branches of the entertainment industry where you are allowed to have a career long after you’ve stopped looking good in hot pants.”
To this, I say, ‘Thank God!’ because my hot pants days are long past. And speaking of such things as age and noveling, here is a bit of trivia relating to the potential age at which one may begin a noveling career… and it gives me great encouragement. Lilian Jackson Braun, author of the popular “Cat Who…” cozy mystery stories, began writing (for the most part) after she retired as a newspaper journalist. (Hopefully, I’ve got my facts straight, but frankly, if I have them wrong I don’t want to know, because then that would just be – not as encouraging.)
(And may I also hasten to add that I am not quite ready for retirement… I can totally beat Ms Braun.)
Baty, C. (2004). No Plot? No Problem!. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.