I just finished my NaNoWriMo submission, which has kept me busy for the past couple of days, hence no blog. Sorry!
This year I also chose cat narrators (see Eureka, under the “Fiction” tab) and maybe that’s gonna be my claim to fame when I die. I dunno. I’ve always enjoyed animal narrators myself–the genre is called “beast tales,” apparently.
Please note that I finished early–not as wicked early as some, true–so now I have all this mojo circulating in my bloodstream and you’re the only place to go with it. Unfortunately, my brain still isn’t awake (I found that I do my best and most prolific writing when I roll out of bed) and this may be randomness.
What’s bugging me in the back of my mind is a convo I had last year or so with the writing guru I sometimes do evaluations for. I brought up NaNoWriMo, and he said, dismissively to the point of mild contempt, “Oh, I have people do 50,000 words in a weekend.” Now, this is theoretically quite, quite possible. When typing, I’ve clocked myself at a rough 1K per hour, maybe a little more, and if you check in Friday, check out Sunday or possibly Monday, and don’t sleep–it’s doable. Thinking a moment on this brings out a feeling of sadness, of compassion: How pressured these folks must be! How hard these novels have been trying to claw their way out! But it’s so easy to let the world discourage you from being a writer, God knows. And that’s what the writing guru’s thing is–he midwifes those poor unborn novels into the world.
Now, we’re not necessarily talking about literary merit (whatever that is; when 50 Shades made it big, I officially Gave Up) or even readability. I see these texts at what is most often an early stage of their being–these writers have not yet been scared by the prospect of needing to EDIT, bless their pointy little heads and unscathed souls; let alone having shown them around and asked for critique. I suspect I am often the first beta reader (defined later) and most of them are . . . surprisingly OK, all things considering. True, some of them are awful, and a few of them are wonderful–so wonderful I wish it were professional to ask for a comp copy. But the difference between them and what they were before is that they have been born.
NaNo does a similar midwifery. Most WriMos in my area are college-age women, and in a culture that still silences women, especially brainy women, isn’t it great that they’re gonna pump out that fan novel they’ve been thinking about? Maybe it’s crappy, but as my late friend Barry Walden once said to me, years ago, “That’s one less piece of crap I have to write.”
(A moment of silence here for all writers lost to depression.)
A word on and for beta readers: If you don’t have them, join a writer’s group through Meetup and show them your stuff. They will (or should) understand that your work is still in beta (the software testing mode) and they will look for bugs in your code.
There will be (to your mind, anyway) many, many, many bugs in your code. You will learn the phrase “murder your darlings;” some of you might learn how to punctuate. And that’s a good thing. Trust me.