Ed Charlton grew up in England and currently lives in a former colony.
After many years toiling in corporate data systems he branched out into writing and, subsequently, to providing publishing services to independent authors. Check out the rest of this site to learn more.
Ed owes a debt of gratitude to all in The Write Group based at the Montclair Public Library in Montclair, NJ. He is a member of the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County and the founder of The Write Group: Kennett Square, PA.
He has a reputation for asking, in the middle of long BBC dramas, “When do the aliens land?”
There are so many things to be wary of. Here are few of the things I worry about!
Weren’t you writing anyway? What’s the fuss about one month? Write every month, damn it!
Tell me again, what are you writing? A complete novel? I mean, really?
If you search carefully through the NaNoWriMo website, you’ll find where it says a first draft of 50,000 words. Mostly, it talks enthusiastically about writing a complete novel.
That’s misleading–because you can’t write a novel in a month.
If you could, you’d be a prolific–probably romance–author with a large pool and servants.
Those people are aliens, you’re not.
It takes a lot to write a novel. Most of it is rewriting, changing stuff, rewriting, realizing your mistakes, rewriting, noticing something so damned obvious it throws you into depression, rewriting, checking consistency, rewriting, persuading your early readers to answer your texts, rewriting, changing the sex of your main character, rewriting, adding back the murder or the zombie invasion you just took out, rewriting, stuffing the damn printout into a drawer, opening the drawer, rewriting. Finally, realizing you are finally so sick of it, it must be finished. At the very least.
I would give credit to the NaNoWriMo website for admitting this, but it’s buried on the “Now What?” page.
It takes a lot less effort to write the first draft of a novel. You might be able to do thatin a month.
You do remember Anne Lamott telling you what you have is called “the SHITTY first draft,” don’t you? It’s called that for a reason. It sucks. It’s not the finished novel. It’s something else.
Calling this month ShiFirDraWriMo would be more honest, wouldn’t it?
I call for truth in abbreviations; it avoids unrealistic expectations.
Which brings me to say do not publish what you write in November. It sucks, remember? It’s not a novel. It’s something else. Readers will be delighted to wait until you have done the rest of the work on it. Readers deserve the respect shown them by authors who complete what they start. Don’t throw it at them unfinished!
And November? You’ve got to be kidding me!
There’s f***king Thanksgiving in it!
Last year, you said to your spouse/whatever, “Umm…Sweetie, I can’t help with Thanksgiving this year, I’m writing a novel.” Still together? Thought not.
Oh, wait…are you reading all this while sitting in your parent’s basement? Okay, no problem. Go to YesYesYesYes. At least you have the free time.
I hate NaNoWriMo!
I’d love your comments, but please read both sides first. I believe them both.
There are so many reasons to recommend NaNoWriMo. Here are few of the things I appreciate!
The month long event gives you a start date, an end date, and a daily output goal.
That means STRUCTURE! We creative types need structure. We are, by nature, all over the place. If only we could have that discipline the rest of the year.
Perhaps learning how to apply ourselves every day to our writing for one month can teach us how to keep doing it in the months that follow.
For one month, you are no longer the lonely writer in the attic or basement. We Are Team November!
Our library is holding regular get-togethers of NaNoWriMo authors: for writing together or boasting together or commiserating together. It doesn’t really matter which; it’s good to be with fellow travelers.
At the start of December there will be words where there were none before. Never underestimate the importance of actually writing words. Without those an author has a hard time justifying the title. You will have words you can build on–words worth editing, polishing, rewriting, crafting, molding, into a finished product
In the worst case, when you achieve no goals, start late, or finish early, there will be ideas that weren’t there before. You might find at the end of the month, you’ve just taken the first steps into what will be years of work, all stemming from a few new ideas.
You did it, or part of it. Whatever, you get the accolades, because YOU did it.
A great British tradition takes place in early September each year (Wakes Monday).
In the village of Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire a team dance the Horn Dance.
There are six dancers, a musician, a Maid Marion figure (played by a man), a Hobby Horse, the Fool, a boy with a bow and arrow, and another with a triangle. In ancient times, the dancers were all male, but recently girls have taken the triangle and bow and arrow roles.
The horns are actually reindeer antlers dated to around 1065, a time when no reindeer lived in England.
The dance moves are related to Morris dancing, and similar dances from Europe and Africa.
It boggles my mind, as a writer, how limited my imagination is. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
The word “Scale” is used in Hollywood in reference to the pay rate an actor can expect for a role in a movie. As illustrated in this joke: One actor asks another actor friend about the embarrassing flop of his recent movie. “What did you do that turkey for?”