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Tomorrow marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, nicknamed NaNoWriMo. Columbians have picked up their pens and keyboards to participate in the past, but if you’re new to the project, here’s the gist followed by five things you should know before you commit.
The premise of NaNoWriMo is simple: Write a novel in a month. Hit the 50,000-word minimum, which is about 175 pages). And don’t plagiarize.
1. It’s a long way to the finish line. In 2011, the project had 256, 618 participants. Only 36,843 made it to the 50,000-word finish line. Now, that’s a lot of novels, but it’s only a 14 percent success rate.
2. Get ready to write a lot. Just looking at the number side of things, to hit 50,000 words over the course of a single month, you need to write a minimum of 1,666 words every day. If you exclude weekends, then that ups it to 2,300. If you only write on the weekends, then 6,000 per day. So, plan accordingly.
3. That being said, hitting the right word count isn’t the real goal. Lots of people can write 50,000 words, but you want those words to be a novel, hopefully a good one. Even the NaNoWriMo site warns writers to be prepared to jot down a lot of crap before getting to the final draft.
4. While plagiarism is a big no-no. Crowd sourcing is acceptable and sometimes encouraged. Even the NaNoWriMo Facebook pages encourages the participants who have already been planning to share their ideas with little activities, such as describing their main characters in three words. — If you’d like some in-person support, connect with some of the 700+ participants in the Columbia region.
5. There’s more than one winner, and very few (if any) losers. In an ideal world, everyone would finish, but that’s not always possible. Just because you don’t have a novel of your own come December doesn’t mean you’ve lost. At least you started.
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