Some of you may have noticed that strange object in the upper lefthand quadrant of my webpage. You know, the thing that says "NaNoWriMo Word Count" and has a big old empty white bar underneath with the words "0/50000 words 0% done" under it.
What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? Well, funny you did, because I happen to have an answer for you.
It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it's a 'competition' among writers to complete a 50,000 plus word first draft of a novel in one month; the month of November. I put the word competition in quotes because I mean it in the loosest sense of the word. In reality, it's more of a goal since all you really win is a virtual pat on the back from the event organizers and the other authors competing in the trenches with you if you surpass the benchmark.
I've known about this thing for two years now, but this will be my first year competing in it. The reason is that I've always found the number daunting: 50,000 words in one month? And not just any month. But November? You know...the one with a big old holiday at the end of it and typically vacation travel plans weaved in as well? Yeah, that one. The thought of bringing together 50,000 words into some sort of coherent mass is certainly an undertaking not to take lightly. Hence my reservations in previous years.
When you break it down to a daily word count, though, it seems less of an impossibility. It works out to somewhere on the order of 1667 words per day. Definitely doable. If you take out Thanksgiving. And vacation travel. And sleep. Maybe a couple meals per day too. And, oh yes, editing too. Yes, no editing allowed. The general rule of thumb is to puke your guts onto the keyboard and don't look back until December has rolled around on the day planner.
Since the world I've written in thus far has been the real world, and a historical one at that, it has required a great deal of research to bring those stories to life. But I won't have time for such research during NaNoWriMo, so I've come up with a plan...
I'm swapping genres.
That's right. The real world's a bitch to keep up with, but if I write in an artificial reality there's less real reality to keep up with. This is gonna be fun! I'm actually getting giddy as a type this. I've had an idea for a science fiction piece for a long time. And I mean a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG time. It came to me when I was a kid watching old Twilight Zone episodes with my Dad back in North Carolina. For now, I won't explain any further, but suffice to say the idea's had plenty of time to ferment and I think I'm ready to bottle this batch of brew up and see what it tastes like.
So, come November expect to see that Word Counter come to life. And if it doesn't then I also expect to see my email box flooded with vitriolic scorn meant to spur me into action, lest I fail in achieving my goal.
YOU, lady and gentleman, are here to keep me accountable to the cause. My goal, my mission in November is to turn that white bar blue.
Wish me luck, and in keeping with the sci-fi theme, if you are strong in it, would you do me a solid and say: "Mike, may the Force be with you!"
[P.S.: If you're interested in competing also, check out the link to NaNoWriMo here.]