Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Novel is Finished!

Okay, now that I've got your attention talking about a finished novel and all that, let me clarify. I participated in NaNoWriMo (for the first time ever!) this month of November, which happens to be "National Novel Writing Month." I finished and "won" by meeting and slightly exceeding the 50,000 word limit, submitted by Nov. 30th at midnight. I actually finished the evening of the 29th, almost a full 24 hours before the deadline! Go me!
Now, as it is with NaNoWriMo, they call any text submitted to their website that is at least 50,000 a "novel," and all the authors of such texts "authors". I do not know if I can be quite so liberal with those descriptions, because anything written during November is typically just a very rough draft of a short novel. Fifty thousand words is tough to punch out in a month, but would make an awfully small book by most standards. So, even though I am a writer and would perhaps even call myself an "author", I'm not sure I would call what I wrote this past month a "novel" or not.
I mean sure, it had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it even had a relatively coherent storyline with acceptable dialogue that advanced the plot. And to craft this document, it required a month full of 5-hour writing sprees, locked in the office by myself. It required me to become slightly anti-social at times, to depend probably a little too much on coffee, and my back is still tight from sitting in my not-so-comfortable desk chair for the majority of the month of November. But is it worthy to be called a "novel?" I guess it depends on the definition you're using.
And I think there is something even more important than debating if my novel is really a "novel" or not. What's more important is to decide whether or not it was worth it for me to have participated in this literary experience. And the answer is a resounding "Yes!" It was fun, it was brutal at times, it required lots of sacrifices on my part, and it forced me to tap into creative stores I did not think I had. And it was SO WORTH IT! If you did not participate or if you did not meet the minimum 50,000 word requirement, I encourage you to try again next year, because it will be worth it, I promise! Happy writing!

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