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The Mediocre American Novel

Posted by on October 25, 2007

National Novel Writing Month begins next week, and I have signed up. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, beginning at midnight on November 1 and ending by midnight on November 30. You don’t get anything, except 50,000 words you’ve written; there are almost no guidelines; and if you fail, well, no big deal. The thing the website offers is support: online forums to discuss everything from plot points to coffee brands to what to do when you’ve been locked in the bathroom crying for the past two hours (I made that one up), and also in-person groups and meetings and parties.

We’ll see whether my enthusiasm for this project extends beyond this cup of coffee I’m drinking: whether it extends all the way to attending the kick-off party all by myself on Saturday, then talking to a bunch of strangers (but book people, book people), then actually writing a novel in a month. We’ll see.

I am posting this for two reasons. One, some of you might want to try this as well, although some of you (and Jason knows who he is) might be able to write a good novel all by yourselves instead of a crappy novel with 80,000 other people helping.

Two, the site recommends the following:

Tell everyone you know that you’re writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who’ve had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

Humiliation, here I come.

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