Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

November has arrived, and it's time to embark on the annual NaNoWriMo writing challenge, to write a 50,000 words book in 30 days.

This year I'm working on a non-fiction book, despite the word "novel" in the challenge's title (National Novel Writing Month). Since it's no longer "national", I'm stretching the definition of "novel" a bit and using the challenge to write non-fiction. It's still a very personal and creative work, just not a work of fiction.

As with previous years, I prefer not to discuss the contents of my work while it's in process. But I can talk about the process of writing, and hope this will interest fellow writers and other language professionals.

This is a project I've been thinking about doing for a long time. I created a bit of an outline before I started. I wrote a list of 30 subjects that can serve as chapters or sections within the book. I don't know if they will all be of equal length, or whether I will be able to work neatly on one section a day, but the idea of 30 subjects in 30 days seemed like a helpful plan, at least before the fact. I'll have to wait and see how it turns out in practice.

I know that when I've finished writing I'll need a lot of editing. So far, I have little experience in editing my own creative work. I have yet to edit the two novels I have completed in previous NaNoWriMo challenges. I know that this is an important skill to acquire - both the technical aspects of editing (which I do professionally, but not for fiction, which has some different considerations) and the self-discipline of viewing my own writing objectively. I wonder why I have not done this yet for these novels, and what that says about my intentions as a writer...

With this book, it should be possible to rearrange the 30 sections in an order or structure that will start to emerge once they are written. I think I should do this after the whole thing is written and I can see it holistically. I know it may involve a lot of rewriting, but that might be easier when I can move around things I have already written. Editing this non-fiction book might be more similar to the sort of academic editing I do professionally, compared with editing novels, which I have never done.

I have already written more than the recommended minimum today, and feel very positive about this project. I will have more to say about the differences between writing fiction and non-fiction later on.

Good luck to all participants, and to writers everywhere!

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