From the Editor:
A Little NaNo Rant
By Lazette Gifford
Copyright © 2008 by Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved
NaNo is coming.
That's National Novel Writing Month -- NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.com)
-- and it takes place every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words
during November, and thousands of people take part from around the
world. It's fun -- at least if you are somewhat crazy. And maybe
sadistic, when it comes to writing.
There will be -- as there always is -- a surge of
protest about how terrible the entire concept of NaNo is. This
protest comes from people who make a habit out of crying in dismay at
anything hinting that writing isn't an elitist, angst-filled waltz with
death. The usual complaint goes something like 'How dare these people
write like this instead of taking it seriously!' This is usually
followed by a long rant about the death of literature, etc. -- as
though the mere thought that these people would dare to step forward and
write a story is the end of civilization itself.
They need to get a grip, go retire to their unheated
garrotes, drink their liquor and go back to their pretend world of 'real
authors' and how they must suffer. If they are smart, they won't come
back out until mid-December. By then, most of the NaNo rush will be
over and they won't have to suffer hearing about it.
in the meantime, the rest of us will just join in and
NaNo is not for every author. It's not even for
most authors. Many of the people who take part have never
written anything of length before, and quite a few who have taken part
in the past don't write any fiction outside of the NaNo work. Quite a
few are not interested in publishing. They are writing because they
have a story to tell and this is a fun way to do it.
Yes, NaNo is fun. It's exciting and it's a good way
for some people to get going on their writing because it brings them in
contact with thousands of others who are at the same level they are, and
lets them know that it's all right to leap in and try. They aren't
alone. They are allowed to enjoy writing.
And it has absolutely no affect on anyone who does
not take part. It's not the death of literature. Most of the people
who join in won't finish, and those who do finish will probably share
their work with their friends or even post the work on their sites.
Those who hate NaNo will never even see any of those words unless they
purposely go looking for them.
A few authors will go on to rewrite and
continue to work on their novels and hone them into something far better
than the quick, first draft they've written. But that part doesn't
matter. People are not required to rework their stories. They aren't
required to do anything with the work they write. It's an exercise
for the brain, and if the author gets more out of it, good for them.
But there will still be those who shout and cry and
write rude things about the people who take part. Here's a clue
though: If thousands of people spend their November writing just
for the joy of it, it will no more affect your life than it would if
they all took up skydiving.
What others write cannot affect what you write. Only
you can do that, and all the pretentious hand-wringing and cries of
dismay about how the NaNo people dare to call themselves authors, and
dare to claim to have written anything, is the only affect it really has
on the snobby group. They're doing it to themselves because it is
oh-so-elitist to show how they would never stoop to something so
My usual thought is 'So go write and shut up. Prove
how superior you are... and we'll just go on having fun.'
We have about two months until NaNo, and some of us
are looking forward to the sheer fun of it. Time to start checking the
subconscious for characters, dusting off half-formed ideas, and begin
lining it all up!
I hope to be able to leap in and have fun again this
year. This will be my eighth year at NaNo. I'm looking forward to it.
Good luck to all the rest of you who are going to join in, too!