Newest Review: ... to the website which allows you to track your progress and talk to other NaNo'ers. However, there is nothing stopping you from writing by h... more
A Site for Sore Eyes.
Member Name: QueenElf
Advantages: Real life Experience.
Disadvantages: Very Tiring.
Itís that special time of year again. No, itís not Halloween or Bonfire night. For me and many others itís Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month. This is a yearly event that pulls in amateur writers from all across the world to try and achieve something that non-writers would probably think highly unlikely, or just plain foolish. The goal is to write a novel (or more like a novelette), of 50,000 words in just one month--- the month of November. Whatís is all about? Iíll give you a quick overview as this has been reviewed already by friends of mine, and in one case, my writing partner and fellow novelist, known on here as Docpov.
Nanowrimo started back in 1999, in San Francisco with just twenty-one would-be authors. The concept was very basic and hasnít changed that much over the years, although the ideas and off-shoots have grown to become an amazing event. For a more detailed (and interesting) version of how Nano has grown, you can visit the site as a non-participant and scroll through the various areas of the site, much as one would browse through Dooyoo. Also, the basic navigation and ideas have already been reviewed extremely well. So why am I writing this?
Well Nanowrimo ( affectionaly referred to as Nano) only happens each November and the deadline for would-be writers is fast approaching.
To join in the fun and games each participant must register their interest from October 1st to 31st. After that writing begins in earnest and wonít come around again until next November. I hear you say, ďSo What?Ē Yes, it might appear that thousands of normally sane people suddenly become totally irrational and canít be found around their normal haunts until December, but there is method in this madness.
Many members of Dooyoo and Ciao can put together an excellent review in les than half an hour. Others like me have to struggle for hours to write a half-decent review. My own theory is that some of us just try too hard or lose their way when trying to plan it out.
Nano encourages us to cast aside all our doubts and fears by frantically trying to write 50,000 words in November. By pushing the boundaries a normally careful writer forgets all they have ever learnt or experienced before and just types away madly, knowing that they need to write between 1000 and 2000 words per day to make that all-important 50,000.
So what if you write rubbish? Out of that rubbish comes some brilliant ideas and further work can turn that stream of unconscious writing into something more productive than months of careful planning.
So you like the idea of joining in this madhouse ? Where do you start? When you bring up the homepage from your browser, it opens in English, but gives the option to choose from another four European languages. Go to ďSign inĒ and it takes you through a procedure very similar to many sites that have thousands of members. Once you have your username and password, you login and make your own page. This year the author profile has been given even more scope than previous years, offering the chance to really show the world what a great writer you are. (We all love that hype, donít we?) .This activates your account and from midnight on 1st November you can start writing and adding details to your page.
Thereís a nice scroll around your pen-name and as soon as you have written enough to show the world what a fantastic story you are writing, you can upload to your pages a taster of your novel. For the last few years this has opened up like the first few pages of a book, giving you an idea what your novel will look like. This year promises to be bigger and better, and hopefully will show off your work to an appreciative audience.
Progress on your word-count is accepted as what you say it is, but be warnedÖ.there is a final count which means you uploading all your work. Donít worry thoughÖyour work is not stored, so nobody can breach your copywrite.
In previous years Nanowrimo has raised enough money to fund many worthy projects. In the past three years alone, they have funded 17 libraries in Asia alone, giving the joy of reading to the children of many impoverished communities. Our own children are not forgotten either, with grants for various groups and students to join in the experience of writing themselves. This money has come from the participants who donate anything from about £5 upward as well as writing. This keeps the site running and allows for plenty of fun while would-be authors are cheered on daily by the enthusiastic volunteers who give their time freely. As a non-profit making organisation this is a terrific achievement when you consider that last year 79,000 adults and 15,000 young children were using the site daily.
Last year I found it hard to afford the donation as I am unable to work through ill health, so I was pleased to read about this yearís sponsorship programme. Each writer can have a page for family and friends to sponsor then to finish the marathon task of writing their book. I will be teaming up with my writing partner this year, so Iím hoping that we can raise a good amount of money.
It would take me an age to cover the whole site and to say what benefits it gives to many people. I have been a member of Nanowrimo for three years now. The first year I finished my book, along with about 15,000 others. Make no mistake, itís hard to write so much in thirty days with no other reward than a certificate and a wonderful sense of achievement when itís all over. There are authors who go on to complete their books and a small percentage does get their books published. The first year I didnít complete my book, it was just not worth the effort of carrying on. Last year I didnít complete my book in the month, but I did go on to complete it at the beginning of this year, and Iím hopeful it will get published before the year is out. Whether or not you stay the course, at least thereís the pride in having tried and knowing that you can make the effort.
I expect most people will wonder why I and so many others bother. Well we canít all be wrong. A lot of it is pride as well. Authors come from all over the world, but Americans are still the majority. The UK is split into regions, with plenty of good-humoured banter going on especially with the Welsh/Scots/Irish/English. The forums buzz with activity as writers, wired up with coffee, beer/fags/ chocolate or whatever keeps them writing into the wee small hours of the morning, swap stories and generally fool around. Itís a community like any other site. Members help reach other with plots, ideas for the perfect murder, details of writing competitions and general horseplay.
I have tried to give you an idea of not just the site, but what itís like to participate. It was from the first year of Nano that I started to take my writing seriously, the thrill of the experience led to me writing not one, but two books and one thatís on hold at the moment. I would recommend it to anyone who would like to try to write. Thereís no judgment, just sore fingers, lack of sleep and at the end a sense of euphoria thatís probably manic. But arenít the best writers all from the same stable?
© Lisa Fuller 2007.
Summary: Eveyones a winner.