Monday, November 3, 2014

Wordcraft -- In the know with NaNoWriMo

I officially joined the 2014 NaNoWriMo challenge¾ writing 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November¾ yesterday, November 2. On that day I wrote 1,275 words of a new historical mystery novel I’d been thinking about for, well, way too long.

Yes, I know that to meet the 50,000 goal, I’d have to write about 1,667 words daily. The official site,, gleefully informed me that I was already more than 2,000 words behind and at this rate I wouldn’t finish November until mid-January. Instead of buckling down and chugging out more words, I did what the tough do. No, it’s not get going. It’s playing on the internet, of course.

I scanned the site for average word counts so far by genre. I entered mine as “historical” rather than “mystery”, but if I thought that would give me an edge over fellow writers, I was disappointed. Average number of words for each of those genres (as of yesterday) is about 1,900 words. The genre netting the highest average number of words, so far, is erotica, with just over 3,000.

The wordiest region, again so far, is Germany, where writers are averaging more than 3,000 words each. (Please tell me you’re not all writing erotica!)

These and other statistics are available in “word count helpers” under the “Inspiration” button on the NaNoWriMo site. On the practical side, see “NaNo prep” under Inspiration for help with characters, world building and plotting. Or check out “forums” under the “Conversation” button, which includes helpful stuff like a reference desk, plot doctoring, help by age group and more. My favorite? The “Appellation Station,” advertising itself as “your home for all your naming needs.” It includes help with titles, which I’m dying to check out because thinking up titles ranks right up there with extensive dental work on my list of favorite activities.

The conversation button also lists local forums, which is term list group write-in dates and locations. ML’s (municipal liaisons) Robin and Trelk in my Dallas-Fort Worth region of the United States are amazing. They’ve scheduled write-in across the area for every day in November except Thanksgiving Day, sacred in the U.S. and especially in Texas to the shrines of food and football.

By now I was thinking, yeah, we put a lot of words out there in cyberspace, but what good really comes of it all? Another quick internet search turned up, plenty of good. The site lists more than a dozen books with NaNoWriMo roots that have made it onto bookshelves. They include most famously New York Times bestsellers Water for Elephants and The Night Circus, among others.

Not that writing 50,000 words in a month is a guarantee of bestseller status, or even publication, but as they say, you can’t win if you don’t enter.

(By the way, I initially had trouble inputting my word count at “my novels” under the “MyNaNoWriMo” button at the mothership site. Even though I pasted in an excerpt of my novel, the site listed my word count as zero until I entered the number of words separately. I mentioning this because I saw other writers on the NaNoWriMo Facebook page who seemed to be having a similar problem. But enough. Stop reading this now. Seriously. Go write.)

No comments:

Post a Comment