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NaNoWriMo Read-A-Long

October 13, 2011

It’s that time again. National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner.

NaNoWriMo excited me the first time I heard about it in high school. The idea of doing something so huge in such a short time thrilled me and inspired me. This year will be my fourth NaNoWriMo. Last year was my first win. I’m hoping to make this year my second.

One of the main problems I came across during last year’s NaNo was that I was trying to write my words as fast as I could. Which isn’t a bad thing. I was easily pumping out two or three thousand words per hour. I can’t even imagine doing that now and it terrifies me how much more time this year’s NaNo will take. But last year, I ran out of plot at around 35,000 words. Looking back, this is because I was writing the plot so fast I was skimming over places that could have benefited from description, a more leisurely conversation, actually doing justice to the subplots I started, etc.

While writing fast is admirable, in my case it sacrifices quality. I know, I know. NaNoWriMo isn’t about quality. It’s about quantity. But now that I know I can do it without dying, I want to push myself even further. I want to give myself a restraint. Must do an entire post about my love of writing restraints. But later.

This year, I want to focus on slowing down, to let my characters smell the flowers, even if in doing so they fall asleep in a field of poppies (did I steal this?).

As I thought about my plan, I realized that once the month started, I could easily abandon all of my high standards and simply do a rush job again. I need something that will remind me to slow down. Remind me that what I am writing will be worth reading later.

And then the idea hit me. I’m going to read a book during NaNoWriMo.

I can see you rolling your eyes. Aren’t you always reading? you ask me. Why yes, I am. But during this November I am going to pick a book that is roughly 50,000 words and I am going to read about 1,667 words every day. Give or take. That way, it will put into perspective how much I am writing, where I am in my own story structure compared to the novel, etc. So many good reasons to do this!

Just one thing. Which book?

I’ve been itching to read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky for a while now (more urgent now that the movie version is in filming). But I’m not sure if it’s the right book. It’s written in letters so I think there’s not going to be as much description, which is one of my weak spots.

Any suggestions? If you’re not sure how long the book is, a rough estimation is 250 words per page. Meaning a 200 page book = 50,000. Throw me some titles! November is only 17 days away!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2011 2:04 pm

    Have you read “Flipped” by Wendelin Van Draanen? It’s roughly the right length.
    I read that book during last year’s NaNo to help me.

  2. October 14, 2011 11:18 am

    I haven’t read Flipped. But I have picked it up a few times at the library because of the amazing cover. Who’s going to forget a cover with an upside-down baby chick on it? Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. October 14, 2011 4:05 pm

    I remember seeing it all throughout my childhood and never forgetting that cover. :P It wasn’t until it was on sale for fifty cents at the Count Fair before I actually decided to read it. Until that point, I was devouring all the Fantasy books I could get my hands on.

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