Monday, October 03, 2016


November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal-- complete a 50,000 word novel in one month.

Today I read  this interesting piece in  A Reader's Book of Days by Tom Nissley :
        " Those planning to celebrate NaNoWrMo in November take heart --or heed--from Dostoyevsky's bold wager in October 1866, made to pay off his gambling debts, that if he couldn't write a novel in a month he would lose the rights to his next nine year's of work. He wrote The Gambler in 1867." And won the bet.

In 2010 I took the plunge and completed the task. That year I did not do any pre-planning, joined at the last moment and wrote feverishly every night in November. The novel, was disjointed, clumsy, and dreadful.

This year, if I decide to take the plunge, I'll do some planning in October. Last year 120,000 people participated and 23,000 completed the marathon. Salon notes that most of the novels are "crap". No one revises. Why not just write a list of words. All this is true. And what do you get for this dubious accomplishment? A certificate you print out on your computer.

So why bother? Why not spend the time writing, editing, revising, revising, revising.

All good questions, but there's something engaging about marathons. I haven't made up my mind. I've done it once so why do it again. All good questions.

Before beginning one needs to acknowledge that the result will be less than stellar, that the tome belongs in a bottom drawer, and that the story doesn't hold together. So why do it? Perhaps it's for the paper certificate.

Ah... decisions, decisions, decisions. And I do have one certificate, but still....


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