Tonight I attended the Honolulu regional kick-off party for this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) craze. Held at Zippy’s on King Street, the eclectic gathering totaled over 30 brave participants committed to writing toward a goal of 50,000 words in 30 days.
This will be my (gasp) seventh attempt to break the 50k and become a “Winner” as deemed by founder Chris Baty and his impressive team of dedicated novel-generators. While I’ve never been crowned "Winner" yet, the fruit of my NaNo labor consists of four novels in various states of completion, the most recent also serving as a portion of my MFA thesis. At 49,000 words currently, this baby is just a few words away from an agent’s desk.
My NaNo nerves this year are at an all-time high as I am using the upcoming month of madness to pen/pound out a historical fiction piece that I’m being commissioned to write. It’s an epic plotline based on a true story of fleeing Romania during WWII. I’ve been researching for this since May of ‘08. I can even speak a few important sentences in Romanian, like, Am de fucut niste comparaturi, which means, I need to do some shopping. I also have a handful of Romanian recipes to try in order to get a literal taste of the land. And the music, it’s well, how do you say, so Romanian.
Now not only am I taking on the challenge myself, but for the past five years I have been inflicting NaNoWriMo on my English students. This year, all 119 of them are signed on with the young writer program and are (for the most part) psyched (scared out of their minds) to begin this Sunday. I listened to their plot ideas today in class, and wow, I’m so impressed with the wild outpouring of genuine creativity. Their minimum word count requirement for an A is 10,000 words, but every year I have at least one student who breaks the 50k. The record, held by current sophomore Kyle Park, stands at 63k words of sheer brilliance.
The kick-off party served its purpose. Our two delightful ML’s (Municipal Liaisons) are brand new to the state—one from somewhere in the south and the other from Long Island, New York—but they are raring to launch our mid-Pacific state into NaNo-land. We will be having word wars against Los Angeles and Long Island, two high-volume cities in previous years, as well as some other city I cannot recall at the moment. It will be exciting to see how we tally up at the end of the month.
In the meantime, I’m wondering how my blog will fare during my 30-day pilgrimage to NaNo-land. Given the collaborative nature of my Romanian mission, I probably won’t be putting up any significant excerpts, but I may resort to posting interesting pictures of my month-long journey, ie: This is me tearing out my hair strand by strand on November 29 with 8,888 words to reach the goal by midnight.
Let the madness begin!