Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Call me Ishmael

I signed up for NaNoWriMo, the horribly abbreviated name for National Novel Writing Month, which is this project where you bang out a novel in the month of November that's at least 50,000 words, or at least 175 pages. I heard about this last year but I missed the boat on signing up for it. I'm excited to do it, to have a project post-marathon, even though I'm already right on schedule to develop carpal tunnel even without this, thanks to the law school professors who just won't rest until I have bloody fingertips and wristguards on both hands.

The NaNoWriMo people say that the important thing is just getting the words out, and to not worry about editing or direction or anything like that -- the goal is quantity, not quality. This is the kind of low expectation that makes me think this could actually work. Every once in a while I feel a strong hankering to write creatively, so for a few nights in a row I'll irritate L by punching at the keyboard while she's trying to sleep, then I'll come up with a few vignettes and false starts and nothing to show for it. When I was younger I used to write a lot more: in 8th grade there was this ridiculous adventure story featuring a character who was basically Bilbo Baggins, enmeshed in the Colombian drug trade; there were also a few stories, humiliatingly enough, imagining adventures for the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." ("Lt. Worf, throw me a phaser!")

I'm thinking for this latest attempt that I'll generally stay away from sci-fi fan fiction. Instead I'm thinking it will probably be a thinly-veiled autobiography, about some young dude in the city, maybe with some wacky neighbors and friends, work experience in the legal realm, and a dope soundtrack. But hopefully I can make it a little bolder than that.

Anyways, I'm sort of excited about this. Hopefully having some external framework around the writing process will help me get through it better, like training wheels or physical therapy. If I manage to complete it, chances are the novel will be a total trainwreck, but at least I'll be the only one who knows it.

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