Posted by: canthold | October 30, 2007

NaNoWriMo I Don’t Know

It started when I read a list in the SF Chronicle of Things to Try at Least Once. There it was, Number Seven: Stay up all weekend…and write. I was intrigued. What the heck was NaNoWriMo? I had to find out.

The thing is that I’ve wanted to write an entire novel since I was in fourth grade. I have a great story about that experience – but I won’t tell it here. I never finished my first book back then and I hadn’t finished any of the others that I had started since, either.

Until last November.

Last November, I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote all 50,000 words required to complete my first novel. Of course, I haven’t even read it since, let alone edit it or send away for rejection letters. But I wrote it!

I can now say that I wrote a novel. I actually completed my number one goal and can die peacefully, though, in all likelihood, if I were to go any time soon, it would not be peacefully, it would be kicking and screaming.

Since I know that I can do it, I have intended from the very minute I was done last year to do it again this year. And every year for the rest of my life – or unless I don’t feel like doing it anymore. Last year’s storyline came to me in September. I was so excited to start that I couldn’t think of anything else and my novel practically wrote itself. And it was fun and I loved my characters so much (that I lived vicariously through them) that I was sad to say goodbye to them when it was over.

This year, even though I know that I want to do this thing, my story is nonexistent. In fact, this contest that isn’t a contest is supposed to be fiction and I can’t think of a single idea that is fictional. What I really want to write is nonfiction.

I have been torn between a nonfiction idea that I’m very excited about and the fact that since it isn’t technically legitimate I must come up with a lame-o fiction story. They say that it’s supposed to be a novel. But you know…the second definition of novel is a new kind; different from anything seen or known before. And it’s an adjective. Can I use literary license and write the nonfiction book that I want to write and say that it’s a novel approach to the theme I’m addressing? Would that cover me?

I think that I’d rather give birth to the idea in my soul than make up some crap for the sake of bragging rights. And I think that if I were to write what I’m excited about, I would actually feel like sending away for rejection letters. I think it’s a good idea. And maybe it would be good enough that someone might not actually reject it. Maybe.

I guess I don’t really have a dilemma at all. I guess I’m going to write the book that I want and call it a novel idea. And I’m going to bed happy tonight knowing that when I get all dressed up for Halloween, and run around all day long getting my kids hopped up on sugar, I don’t have to fret about what I’m going to write on November 1st.


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