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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 ( -- 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 have fun.

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 plebian.

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!