Cat (willowisp) wrote,

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

I've been watching a lot of people on my friends list posting word counts and such. I think it's a neat idea, and I know I could never do it myself; not enough self-discipline. I also have a problem with novel-length works; every time I've tried to write them I seem to run out of ideas in the short story range or soon thereafter. Thus I have the utmost respect for someone who can finish a novel, especially in the space of a month.

One thing I've noticed recently though is that everything seems to be geared around word count. Now, I understand that for something of this scale there has to be some subjective means of measuring. Still, several people have mentioned being done with their story, as in a conclusion and all, but they're short on words. They talk about writing extra scenes and ask for ideas, and since they already have the thing done, it's not going to add anything to the story, really. I'm not so sure that's something which should be encouraged; I know I really hate reading something which has been added as an afterthought or to pad word-count, and I can usually spot such passages from a chapter away.

I probably should go look at whatever official page(s) NaNoWriMo has up; perhaps their word limit is what strictly qualifies for a novel in the publishing world. Maybe after November is over they have people edit and remove any extraneous word-padding. If those are true, I have less trouble with the concept. If it is, however, a case of measuring the story by means of word count alone, I don't know that that's the best idea; people need to learn to write so that what they write makes sense, conveys the meaning, and ties up loose ends. Word counts hearken back to the bad old days of English essays wherein a brilliant analysis received a lower grade then a mediocre summary because the former was half a page short of the required page count.
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