Thursday, October 29

To NANO or not NANO, that is the question

It begins in every October with whispers among the writing sect. NANO's coming. Are you going to NANO? By November, it's morphed into a demand, a shout. The peer pressure is on. NANO or bust.

Last year I gave into the NANO cry for the first time. I thought, "What the heck? Why not? What have you got to lose?"

This year I know better. NANO is not for me. What do I have to lose? Time. Precious time on my current WIP. Last year I abandoned 2008's WIP and I never regained the momentum I had built. I have now put that book on the far back burner. Was it NANOs fault? I can't be entirely sure. Maybe I would've become frustrated with it regardless. But, I'll never know for sure.

Last year's NANO book is sitting in a file waiting for massive rewrites and an ending. Yep, I never finished it. I got 25,000 words into it and realized it had taken on an entirely different path than I intended and would require me to go back and rewrite before I could go on. Does it have potential? Sure. But I think that about everything that I begin. Otherwise, why begin it?

What I didn't like about the NANO experience was the pressure for words and not quality. I remember someone posting that if you needed more words have a character recite the National Anthem. Really? Just put filler crap in so that you can reach your word goal?

I couldn't do it. I couldn't just put down words that I knew I would take out later to make my word count. It felt dishonest. And I would know that I hadn't written a book but simply a series of words to meet a goal.

A writer in my RL critique group finished her first book ever during last years NANO. And yes, that was a major accomplishment. Cheers for her. But, we've been critiquing it over the past year. And sure, she finished it, but believe you me, there is an enormous amount of filler. And when I say anything, she says, "I know, but I had to get my word count up." And therein, lies my beef with the NANO experience.

So, no NANO for me this season. So, Bix's story may not get done until early next year, but when his story is finished, it will be ready for submission. And isn't that what we're all about?


  1. Yay! Another non-NANOer! I don't hate the process as a whole, but like you it wasn't for me. Sure, I finished a new WIP but it sucked...and that's being generous. I started going back through after NANO and realized that not only was there a lot of meet-the-wordcount-dreck, there was no pacing, very little characterization and the list goes on.

    It works for some people, I think, but definitely not me.

  2. I totally agree with you, Margie. I don't have to try NaNo to know it won't work for me. I'm way too slow and can't turn off my self-editing enough for that. No way am I going to put in a bunch of filler just to finish in a month. I'm pretty sure whatever I wrote wouldn't be fixable and would end up in the trash, which adds up to a big waste of time, no matter how fast I got it written.

  3. No NaNo for me. NoNaNo! LOL. Seriously, for some of the same reasons. I hate the sort of sideways looks you get when you say you don't NaNo. Like you're not a serious writer if you don't partake of the feeding frenzy. It makes me feel sort of queasy, sort of ill at ease to admit it, but I'd rather not join in a wild marathon of words. I'd rather take my time, work through this thing bugging me, and get where I want to go with a product I can use.
    Let's start a new rally, NoNaNo!