Right. It’s November and that mean NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you write 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November. It works out to 1667 words a day for thirty days.
The official motto of the project is ‘No plot, no problem!’, meaning that it doesn’t matter if you have a plot for your story. You start writing and somehow magically as you write your Muse will start crafting a story. When you’ve written enough crap your Muse shows up and says ‘Step aside and let me show you how it’s done.’ I’ve done this plenty enough times in the past to know that I really need something more than that if I’m going to complete the challenge. I can’t pants my way through a novel, but I can certainly do it with short stories. I need some type of idea for the story and a rough idea of a plot before I get started.
For the uninitiated, people who write without knowing what the story is are referred to as ‘pantsers’ (as in writing by the seat of your pants.) The other end of the spectrum is the ‘plotters’, people who plot out their novel ahead of time, maybe making detailed outlines, or building their own wiki-based story bible, detailing everything about the setting and characters before they start writing.
Coinciding with the start of NaNoWriMo comes another challenge. My ‘brother from another mother’, Jeff Brackett, and I were sitting around after my recent wedding, and lamenting that neither of us are producing words at a level that we want to be at. A mutual friend of ours suggested a competition between us. See who can get the most words written between now and December 31, 2020. The winner gets bragging rights.
So, here I am, three days into the month, with no idea, no plan, no plot, and no direction. Not entirely true. My Muse tossed a vague idea at me for a story. I just need to flesh it out. I have written 419 words so far this month but on an unrelated project. They do count in my challenge against Jeff, just not for NaNoWrimo. Bring it on!