What’s NaNoWriMo? Well, for the month of November, would-be writers around the globe – though mostly those charming colonials – will sit down at their computers and write about 1500 words each day. At the end, they’ll have 50,000 words of fiction.
First off, 50 grand of wordage gets you a novella, not a novel. Second, why the hell shouldn’t this be a great idea? Would-be writers can get together and moan and cajole each other until the word count is reached. Seems like normal writing behaviour to me.
Over at MetaxuCafe, one guy (Mark Leahy) is unhappy at the thought of all these amateurs peeing on his territory. OK; that might be an unkind summary of his post. I suggest you read it and come back.
Done that? Leahy makes a the point that most people would be aghast if doctors approached heart surgery the way writers approach writing (through trial and error. This is not a good argument for several reasons, and here is the first: (1) Books don’t explode in a shower of blood if you fuck them up; (2) The heart is a physical system whose properties can be investigated through analytic processes, and these properties can be learned over a number of years’ directed study; (3) The properties of a book cannot be objectified in the same way, therefore cannot be learned through directed study, and therefore must be learned through trial and error – in other words, until you’ve fiddled with your fiction and had it explode in a shower of blood a couple of times, you probably won’t know what you’re doing. Good luck to the heart surgeon in Leahy’s story; he’ll need it.
And as for your NaNoWriMo lingonauts – take an umbrella, and God speed.