Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NaNoWriMo EVE

from my email:-

Dear NaNoWriMo participant

Well, we're on the cusp of another beautiful noveling November. The turn-out so far has been phenomenal. Between our main program and Young Writers Program, we'll have over 90,000 authors on board by the end of the week, making this officially the largest NaNoWriMo since the event was first adapted from an Andorran mule-wrestling ceremony back in 1999.

For those of you who are new to NaNo, I want to quickly run through the noveling schedule for the month ahead.

Step 1: Keep reading this email; learn the secret of NaNoWriMo.
Step 2: Wait for 12:01 AM local time on November 1.
Step 3: Write a novel.

No problem.

Okay, back to Step 1. The secret of NaNoWriMo. Which is this: There is a door in your brain. The door has been there your whole life. You may not have noticed it before because it blends in with everything else in your brain. Weird art. Mismatched furniture. Squishy gray bits clinging to everything.

So what does this door have to do with your novel?

Your job this month is not so much writing a book (which is intimidating) as it is finding that door (which is easy).

It's easy because you'll have guides in November who will take you right to it.

These guides are also known as your characters. They're kind of an abstract notion now, but you'll meet them in all their glory in Week One of NaNoWriMo. They'll be a strange lot. Insecure warlocks. Stamp-collecting squirrels. Teenage detectives.

Whoever shows up, go with them. And go quickly. You may have a general sense of where you're going together; you may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write your allotment of 1667 words (or more) on November 1. Don't edit any of it. Editing is for December. Then come back and write another 1667 words the next day. And the next. And the next.

By Week Two, you'll be at the door. A few words later, you'll be through it. You'll know you're there because the writing will feel different. Less like work, and more like watching a gloriously imperfect movie with cringe-worthy dialogue, heaps of confusing tangents, and moments of brilliance so delightful that you'll want to scream.

Once you've stepped through that door into the vast reaches of your imagination, you'll be able to return there as often as you like. It's an enchanted, intoxicating place, and there are other great things besides novels in there.

But we'll talk about that later.

For now, here's our game plan for the coming week.

1) Make sure you've affiliated with a region and then made it your Home Region. This is a two-step process. You do it by signing in and then going to the My Regions page of My NaNoWriMo. The far-left tab gives you a list of regions to choose from. Choose one by clicking "affiliate," then go to the far-right tab called Home Region and make sure your region is ticked.

2) Make sure you have your Edit Profile settings geared to allow emails from us (if you got this, you're good), and that your email program knows to accept messages from noreply@nanowrimo.org. Pep talks from esteemed authors will begin landing in your inbox this week, and will continue to arrive every four days or so. To turn off emails from us, just head to Edit Profile and change your settings to "No mail."

3) On November 1: Begin writing. At this point, you'll be able to begin updating your word count on the Author Info tab of the Edit Profile page. You can do this on the honor system by just typing in the number, or you can paste the whole book in and let our robots count it for you. If you paste your book, please scramble it first, using instructions in our FAQ. You can also post an excerpt of your book in the same area of the Edit Profile page.

4) For the first week of the event, the site will be on fire. This year we moved to a completely new back-end system, and it has made me beat my head against the wall almost every single day. Pages disappear. Parts fall off. Error screens everywhere. It handles high traffic the way a country lane would handle a freeway. We have so many plans on rebuilding the site it for next year it's not even funny. But for now, we have to work with what we've got. Russ is making all the improvements he can to make it suck less.

If the site isn't functional, just postpone updating your word count until the dust settles. NaNoWriMo does not live on a website. It lives in your heart, in your powerful typing fingers, and in your dramatically escalating word count.

We'll keep working on the site. You keep working on your novel.

Together we will rock November.

Happy noveling, everyone! We're so glad to have you writing with us.

Chris
NaNoWriMo

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