Gentlemen (and Gentlewomen), Start Your Novels

November is, as many people know, National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo.” It basically means you crank out a novel in 30 days, with a minimum length of 50,000 words, although I imagine children’s book writers get away with shorter word counts.

I am not a NaNoWriMo participant, because although I’ve been known to write over thousand words in a day, there’s no way I could do that every day for thirty days. The idea behind the contest is “quantity, not quality,” but even without attention to quality, I can’t crank out a novel in thirty days. I do have a lot of friends who do it, though, and I admire their resolve and am a bit jealous of the community that grows around so many writers setting out on the marathon together.

I think it’s especially cool that so many young writers are doing it. I’d guess that a majority are under 25, and I recently spoke to a bunch of seventh graders in Illinois, and several of them are doing NaNoWriMo. What a neat thing for kids that age to want to do. When I was in seventh grade, I only knew a few kids who would even try to read a novel in thirty days.

My advice to those kids, and to all NaNoWriMo participants, is to keep working on that novel even if you don’t get done by November 30. It’s still worth doing. And for those who finish, please do some revisions/editing before you start querying agents and editors about it. You’ll give yourself a better chance at publication and make some agents and editors a little less miserable

Now stop reading blogs and go write that novel!

2 thoughts on “Gentlemen (and Gentlewomen), Start Your Novels

  1. Hey Kurtis,
    Thanks for mentioning the NaNoWriMo and our seventh graders. I will have them take a look at your website on Monday as they kick off their novel writing. It will be fun to see them get started. We will let you know how things go!

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