The challenge is to write 50,000 words on a new manuscript in the month of November. That’s 1,667 words a day. Ahead of time, you can research, sketch out your characters, and even outline the novel. But, you can’t write the first word until November.
To win NaNoWriMo, most people have to write every day. They may be able to miss a day or two and binge write to stay on schedule. This, of course, helps to establish a habit. The main advantage to NaNoWriMo is to get people to finish a story. Many people start stories, but few complete them. Why? Because it’s hard. Really hard.
If people needs this sort of infrastructure to write a story, then I encourage them to participate.
When finished, the author needs to understand what he/she has. 50,000 words isn’t a publishable length work. Most genres need a minimum of 80,000 words. Romance is an exception. I understand that it needs to be 60,000 words, but I don’t write it, so my understanding may be outdated.
More than likely, there are plot holes that a Mack truck could easily fit through. They need to be eliminated. Character motivation tends to be iffy, too. Pacing and story structure take a hit, unless the author adhered to the outline and it was structured properly to begin with.
The key is to not fall into the trap that so many writers do and make December National Submit Your NaNoWriMo Novel to Publishers month. The novel will need a second draft to correct all of the problems. Writing 1,667 words a day, every day, for a month is difficult. The goal is to get words on the page. Quality isn’t required and won’t be achieved. That’s what subsequent drafts are for.
For me, I don’t participate, though a support those who do and congratulate those who succeed. I write on a daily basis. I finish stories. I’d like to do more words that 500-1000 per day that I do, but that’ll happen in its own time. My writing goals are different from NaNoWriMo’s. That doesn’t make NaNoWriMo bad, only not a good fit for me.
If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, I wish you luck and hope you succeed. If not, I hope you’re working toward your writing goals and are succeeding. Regardless, it’s fun to say NaNoWriMo!
I’m interested in many things, from Mars to space travel, music to books, movies to creating my own stories. My sci-fi novel, The Music of Mars, is available now.