November 2, 2009

Another November is upon is, and, as I'm sure you savvy writers know, that means it's once again time for NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month, for those afraid of acronyms).Agents and editors sometimes cringe when we think of NaNoWriMo, because we envision a gigantic pile of rushed, ill-conceived manuscripts being wheeled our way. And let's be honest--in the case of first-time writers blasting out 50,000 words in one month, this is probably pretty accurate. Before everyone gets upset and starts shouting that NaNoWriMo is about inspiration and enthusiasm more than craft and you're not supposed to be completing something perfect, let me say that I get it: I know that the fun and excitement and cheerleading can really help motivate writers. And I think it's great, I really do.But.I can also say, going on what I remember from the Query Holiday that we put on at my former agency last December, that many people set their keyboards aflame and sent the resulting charred manuscript out into the world with nary a thought for editing, restructuring, or any other "ing" needed to make a first draft something more. And that's typically a very bad idea.So this year, I propose that if you're going to go through with NaNoWriMo (and you totally should), you should think of also doing a JaNoEdMo (January Novel Editing Month), where you take a month away from your masterpiece and get second opinions from yourself and others. And maybe then you can do FebNoReMo (February Novel Revising Month) or even MarThroONo&StarOMo (March Throw Out That First Novel and Start Over Month), where you use the motivation you built up on your first novel and work on a second, better idea, now that you have more of the tools to do it.How many of you will be participating this year, and does anyone have any success stories from previos NaNoWriMos to share?