Friday, November 05, 2010

Just Don't Listen

I'm kind of weirded out by the number of people who are writing snide or negative posts about NaNoWriMo this year. When I first started, in 2003, hardly anyone had even heard of it and if they had they were pretty encouraging. I guess like vampires and steampunk NaNo is suddenly popular enough that a certain type of person has to jump on the let's hate it because it's popular bandwagon.

That sort of thing is to be expected and is fairly easy to ignore, especially if you're trying to keep your head down and make your daily word count. What's more insidious are all the posts telling you what not to do. In the last two days I've seen several posts about how to avoid cliches, how to avoid tropes (which is super weird as tropes are not bad in and of themselves. Where would we be without the hero (of either sex) or the villain?), how to give your character a name that is important and not overused, etc.

None of this should be on the minds of those trying NaNoWriMo, especially those who are trying it for the first time. Reread the official website and remember; the idea is to get your initial draft down. Write that crappy draft. Shovel in as many cliches as cross your mind. Name your characters Dick, Spot and Jane if you must. All of this stuff can be fixed in a rewrite if you plan to submit your work somewhere or just want to practice revision. Changing character names is particularly easy as even the most basic text program has a search and replace function. And if all you want is to be able to say that yes, one year you put everything aside and wrote a book and now you're finished writing, then you really don't need to waste your time trying to write a pretty, clicheless manuscript. Hell, you don't even need to run spellcheck if all you want is the words and the feeling of satisfaction!

And yes, of course you should feel free to ignore my advice also if you feel it doesn't apply to you. Do what works for you. That's the important thing.

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