Budding novelists, the timeto churn out the ingenious idea for a story that’s been burning in your brain has arrived at last in the form of NaNoWriMo 2005- National Novel Writing Month. November marks the month to write your novel, and your goal is to pound out 175 pages – or 50,000 words – in 30 days before Nov. 31, 2005 at 11:59 p.m. According to the Web site nanowrimo.org, “NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.” In 2004, there were 42,000 NaNoWriMo participants, and 6000 were able to complete the 50,000 word count goal by the deadline at midnight. The object of the friends-family friendly program is not to write a magnificent opus that will widely received and marketed as a bestseller, but rather to simply write. The Web site promises, “You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing.” Quantity, not quality, matters most in this case, as founder Chris Baty believes that writing without the worries of editing is liberating: “By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.” Writers who sign up can post questions, encouragements and stressed-out commiserations in the forums, and are also able to have their own author profile pages where they can post their word counts, novel excerpts and favorite authors and books. A new addition to the Web site is a beta feature called the NaNoWriMo Friend List, which lets you link your profile up to your friends’ so you can keep track of everyone’s word counts once everyone begins writing for the sake of friendly competition.
The Web site claims that in 2004, “[People] started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.” Surely that can be you in 2005, as this program is the perfect excuse to get a head start on the project of novel writing, whether you thought it was possible or not. Baty’s book “No Plot? No Problem!” is available in stores and can help answer any questions you have about gathering writing ideas and getting the novel done. More details on NaNoWriMo can be found at nanowrimo. org. Sign-ups began on Oct. 1 and are still continuing; novel writing begins on Nov. 1, 2005, at 12 a.m. The program expects at least 60,000 participants.