Over at her own site, Mary Robinette Kowal notes that at the moment there are some published novelists who are bagging on National Novel Writing Month and calling it waste of time and a bad idea for aspiring writers. She counters this by noting that her novel Shades of Milk and Honey (which is fabulous, by the way) was a NaNoWriMo novel — that is to say she wrote it first as part of the that experience, then finished it and sent it off. So the suggestion that NaNoWriMo is a waste of time and/or effort is pretty definitively rebutted in her own experience.
My own comments to folks, professional novelists or otherwise, who want to hate on NaNoWriMo is as follows:
1. Dude, a program that encourages thousands of people annually to celebrate the act of creating words — of creating their own words — and you want to piss all over that? If you look to the right, I have some kittens you can set on fire while you’re at it.
2. Even if you think it’s a waste of time, it’s not a waste of of your time, so why do you care?
3. Alternately, even if something like NaNoWriMo doesn’t match your own writing process, there are a lot of writing processes out there. So if this one works for some aspiring writers, don’t crap on them for it.
Click on over for the rest of Scalzi’s thoughts on NaNoWrimMo, and some great comments.
Last fall, just before Viable Paradise, I started reading Something Wicked This Way Comes. In the midst of catching up on the VP instructors’ works, though, and then starting into the madness of NaNoWriMo, I didn’t finish it. But I spotted it on the shelf Wednesday, and thought, “I should pick that up as soon as I finish Boneshaker, then I’ll start into Bitter Seeds.”
Last night, just before bed, I started back in where I’d left off.
“Three,” a voice said. Will listened, cold but warming, glad to be in with a roof above, floor below, wall and door between too much exposure, too much freedom, too much night. “Three…” Dad’s voice, home now, moving down the hall, speaking to itself. “Three…” Why, thought Will, that’s when the train came. Had Dad seen, heard, followed? No, he musn’t. Will hunched himself. Why not? What did he fear? The carnival rushing in like a black stampede of storm waves on the shore out beyond? Of him and Jim and Dad knowing, of the town asleep, of knowing, was that it? Yes. Will buried himself, deep. Yes… “Three…” Three in the morning, thought Charles Halloway, seated on the edge of the bed. Why did the train come at that hour?
Is it any wonder I snapped awake at 3 AM, admiring that seamless shift from Will’s POV to his father’s, and thinking that it isn’t true, as Bradbury states in the next paragraph, that women never wake at 3 - because I had, and ain’t I a woman? And then I pondered whether I could use his POV tricks in the novel I started (and no, didn’t finish) during NaNoWriMo, which has three POV characters and tripped me up when I realized that a certain scene wanted two of them.
Fortunately, Mr. Bradbury’s grip on my early-morning mind loosened quickly. But it’s got me thinking again about what I wrote in November. I just reread part of it, and it’s dreck, but the bones of the story are there, and I think it’s a good one. About time I tossed out the hastily-written rags they’re clothed with and got down to work.