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November 28th, 2008

2:40 PM

Overheard: The Anti-NaNoWriMo Edition

I hear...

They will learn, oh, they will learn:

Borders won’t survive to see Groundhog’s Day. Barnes & Noble is reporting that it expects the shittiest Christmas season in its entire history. The number of Frumpy Fiftysomething’s Used Books and Quiet Desperation Emporium owners whining about how the yellowed and tattered “Buy Local” signs in the front window aren’t drawing in business currently equal the number of reporters willing to run this as news. Amazon is only hanging around because it sells stuff other than books, and Publisher’s Weekly can’t stop whining about how Sarah Palin allegedly has a $7 million book contract. (Never mind that she’s probably going to have to pay $6.98 million of it back when the sales numbers come back.) And yet every toadsucker playing the NaNoWriMo Shuffle figures that the 50,000 words is the hard part, and that it’s just a matter of months before they see huge piles of their latest novel for sale, with fans and bystanders kicking each other in the heart to get a copy.

Here's an optimist:

I beg to differ: NaNoWriMo provides a useful community service in that it automates the ugliest part of the bad-amateur-write process: forcing some poor sap to actually READ the drivel you’ve produced. The computer program that determines whether you “win” at NaNoWriMo seems to have an infinite tolerance for crappy writing (at least it hasn’t thrown up yet), and the focus on quickly accumulating word count for the month deters participants from sharing their literary excresence with you. They might attempt this at the end of the month, but given the “flash mob” nature of NaNo, what’s the chance you’re even going to see any of these people again, let alone have them press a manuscript into your hands and ask for comments? Consider the alternative: the millions of ongoing “writers’ groups” that meet in public library conference rooms across the country every Saturday, painstakingly going over the third installment of the eighteenth chapter of the second book of a suburban housewife’s million-word “Harry Potter” clone. To the extent that NaNoWriMo can get some of these housewives to keep their writing to themselves (and the computer, of course), it’s doing the world a favor.

But at least it's better than Livejournal, no?

I get the distinct impression that the average age of participants is about sixteen or something. Which is actually fine for people who are sixteen (though maybe not if they’re all cooped up behind a word processor, but that’s their problem). But for those of us more than double that age the attraction of spending great wads of time getting involved in inane threads like “halp I am 45,000 words behind and I don’t feel like writing, someone please validate my existence” gets old pretty fast.

At least you don't need to pay, unlike WoW:

Ah, National NOvel Writing Month, that magical time of the year where over a hundred thousand confused misanthropes sequester themselves from their daily miseries to join a massively multiplayer online game where every character is a writer, and when you amass 50,000 points you Win! It’s just like World of Warcraft, but with no graphics, sound, or incremental reward system. Remember, folks, the first month is free, but an ongoing subscription requires talent.

NaNoWriMo supporter strikes back:

You are all sadly mistake and need to go to hell. When was the last time taht you sat down in a month wrote a fucking novel? when is the last time you were published. What the fuck do you think you are doing by dissing the rest of us who have participated in something that none of you have any experience in? i am fucking sixteen adn wrote over 70,000 words in taht month and it changed my life. you should be ashamed.

That's the spirit:

I’m participating this year just to see if I can bullshit my way through 50,000 words.

Not all of us are under the glorious delusion that, whatever our slick 1666/wordperday fingers can churn out, it’ll surely be unique enough to win us an agent and a guarantee to be the next J.K. Rowling. In fact, there will be shameless quote theft in the first quarter of my ‘novel’, fan-fiction for itself in the second, and the last two will consist of everyday conversations between the two Art Noveau paintings hanging atop my bed.

My illiterate aunt told me I have a natural knack for words. Does anyone else want to root me on?

Mrs Giggles has full intention to participate in NaNoWriMo next year to submit a sting manuscript for PublishAmerica. Visit mrsgiggles.com to marvel at the excerpts. You will have to search hard for them though - they are very hidden to deter people with IQ below 200 from reading them.

2 comment(s).

Posted by Ann Somerville:

"Never mind that she’s probably going to have to pay $6.98 million of it back when the sales numbers come back."

Uh, no. That's not how advances work. Though in her case, it should!
November 28th, 2008 @ 4:13 PM

Posted by Jules Jones:

Ah, Paul's very special brand of bitter and twisted commentary on the publishing industry. I recognised the style three sentences in. :-)
November 29th, 2008 @ 9:14 PM