In case you're not familiar, NaNoWriMo (or "National Novel Writing Month") is a project created by Chris Baty just over ten years ago that dedicates the month of November to writing novels: simply, if you compose 50,000 words between 12:00 am on November 1st and 11:59 pm on November 30th, you "win." And who doesn't love winning?
I wrote about NaNoWriMo last year and got an interesting array of comments and responses. Many were to disabuse me of the notion that a large number of NaNoWriMoErs send queries regarding their 50,000-word mss (hint: 50,000 words does not an adult novel make) to agents, thereby contributing to the global surplus of form rejections. And perhaps they were right; if you, dear readeurs, are any indication, virtually nobody does this.
And yet people do do this. For every few people NaNo-ing just to have fun, or to get a start on that novel they've been putting off, or just to see if they can do it, there's probably someone (based on the anecdotal evidence in which I've been awash for the past few years) who just queries with what they've got. Or, I imagine, sometimes just sends the whole ms along, since if their mentality predisposes them toward sending unfinished/inadequate work to industry professionals, they're probably not super good at following directions (i.e. query before sending a partial or full).
This is a bit of a muddled post, meine Autoren, so in kid-tested, mother-approved Bullet-O-Vision™—
What I am saying:
· NaNoWriMo is fun, entertaining, and a good way to get yourself writing on a regular schedule.
· While this is neither Chris Baty's nor NaNoWriMo's fault, the project encourages a lot of terrible writers with too much time on their hands to churn out dreadful Frankensteinian monsters with which they proceed to pester literary agents, editors, friends, and family. Being literate does not make one a good writer. Not everyone is or can be a good writer. Sad, but (à mon avis) true.
· Granted, a lot of these people are probably writing terrible novels anyway, but anything that encourages them further gives me heartburn.
· Just because you can write 50,000 words that more or less make sense in a month does not mean you're cut out to be a writer.
I realize I'm very much preaching to the choir here.
What I am not saying:
· That NaNoWriMo is terrible. (Because it's not!)
· That you shouldn't participate in NaNoWriMo. (Because, if you've got the time, why not?)
· That you shouldn't use ideas/passages/chapters written via NaNoWriMo in future works. (Good ideas are good ideas!)
· That you should submit the entirety of your NaNoWriMo work to agents. (See above!)
· That no one has ever sold a novel they wrote during NaNoWriMo (but the numbers are small indeed).
What think ye, gentle readers/writers/viewers/collaborators?