I never do NaNoWriMo, because I believe if you’re a writer, you should write. Period. One month of excitement is not going to change your life. It’s like one of those one-day self-help seminars. You go; you have an enlightening, emotional experience; you feel good about yourself and your future; and three days later, you’re back to being your old self. NaNoWriMo always seemed to me to be like that. One month of hard-core writing, followed by… what? If you’re a writer, you write, year-round. You don’t cram it all into the month of November. I have held this position for years.
However, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Here’s my NaNoWriMo user page.
Why the change? Actually, no change. It just so happens that I’m almost ready to begin working on Volume 2 of The Conscience of Abe’s Turn: The Birth of the Conscience. This is a sequel to the first book in the series. And I plan to use Agile Storytelling to complete it as quickly as possible. I don’t know whether I’ll finish the whole book before the end of November, but I’m hoping I’ll complete 50,000 words worth (about half the book).
The whole idea behind Agile Storytelling is to adopt a set of practices that make it easy to quickly write a passable story. This works, because you do things in an order that helps you organize your thoughts quickly, and you also avoid writing a lot of prose that you’ll later need to throw out. You make all the big changes up front, and then the bulk of the writing proceeds smoothly. I’ve already tried the technique, in a limited way, while writing the short story “Recovery, Relapse, Relationship,” one of the extra chapters in Abe’s Turn Volume 1. (My dad said it was the best thing I’ve ever written. Nice of him to say.)
I’ll post more about my experiences with Agile Storytelling here as I work on the next volume.