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November 1, 2013

That’s right. Today I have a (N)ANnOuncement to make.**

What’s a (N)ANnOuncement? I’m so glad you asked. It’s kind of awesome. And I think you’re going to agree.

To understand (N)ANnOuncement, we need to look at the word itself.

To understand mankind, we need to look at the word itself. Mankind. Really this is made up of two smaller words. Mank and ind. What do these words mean? It is a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.

Love you Jack!!!

OK, back to looking at (N)ANnOuncement, it’s made up of two smaller words, NANO and Announcement. What do these words mean?

Well, NANO means it must be November 1, so it’s time for my annual, inspirational (re)post on NaNo and why I love it. And announcement must mean I have an exciting announcement for you!!

With that, I give you my official why I love NaNo post, which conveniently also doubles as Reason #567 that I could never be a writer (apparently you’re supposed to write new material every once in a while):

It happens every year, but I forget. Sure enough, this year I tweeted about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you living under a rock (or living without someone in publishing in your life (which might as well be under a rock, since publishing people are all that is good and special in the world, right??))) and how much I love this event.

And whoa (or holy krakatoa!!).  The response was instant and unbelievable. An agent? Loving NaNo?? No way. Agents hate NaNo. Agents complain about all the crappy, rushed manuscripts they get on December 1st. Agents blah blah blah.

Well I don’t speak for all agents, but I can speak for one, and I love NaNo. I love the energy and the optimism of it. I love the hope.

When I was in college (the last time before this blog that I did any substantial writing), I wrote all my papers the night before they were due and I thought revising meant hitting spell check.

I have since looked up the definition of revisions, and realized that it requires mucho time and effort. Which of course is why I don’t write.

But you do.

You’re writers. So just write. Just get the words down and worry about them later.

And that is the essence of NaNo.

Querying your 3rd manuscript and feeling like you want to give up if this one isn’t it, just go NaNo. Stuck on a plot point in the middle of your WIP? Take a break and go NaNo. Your agent is on submission with a manuscript and it’s making you crazy?? Just go NaNo!

I don’t know what situation you could possibly be in—published or not—that taking a one month break to NaNo would be a bad idea. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re not left with anything useful at the end? I just don’t see it.

I don’t see the pages at the end of November as the finished product (and neither should you), but rather as a new starting point. And personally, it seems like a much better starting point than a blank page.

NaNo isn’t the time to worry about query letters and rejections and marketing budgets and shrinking shelf space all the other worries of the publishing industry. NaNo is the time to get the words down. There will be plenty of time for worrying later. If you don’t have a story to worry about, you don’t have anything at all.

So does this mean I want to see a bunch of NaNo queries in December? Of course not. I’m speaking to you as professional writers. And professional writers edit. And then edit again. And again and again and again.

So rise to the NaNo challenge! And then later you can worry about the post-NaNo challenge…the one where you work your editing magic and make that NaNo baby publishable.

But you know what? I believe it can be done. And I love to see it happen.

NaNo NaNo*

*I can’t figure out how to cut this so you only see Mork saying Nanu Nanu, but the whole thing is kind of fun to watch if you’re old and dorky like I am and used to watch this show.


Starting TODAY, Wolfson Literary Agency will be OPEN TO QUERIES. Please check my submission guidelines for more information.**

**Due to the NANO portion being a copy of an old post, I’m not actually sure that any of the old links work, but just for you, I updated the link on the Announcement portion. See how thoughtful I am? Let the (non-Nano) queries start rolling in… I mean, after you’ve followed the link to my guidelines and all.

Happy November!

Oh yeah, tell me how awesome you’re feeling in the comments. Or maybe you have a Halloween candy hangover. Tell me that too. Just talk to me!

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  1. jackiewellington21 permalink

    I like this…I interpret mankind’s make up includes ‘man’ and ‘kind’ meaning be nice to each other. You’re right, no one understands what that means anyway. I am participating in NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo. I already jot down 4 ideas thus far. I will be writing at 2PM with @FriNightWrites. I just learned that I cannot work on a WIP. I have to start fresh. So I will be starting fresh with an outline I tossed around a few months back of a middle grade WIP. I am off to get my writers tool – Sweet tea with lemon and a mango.

    I loved this post. Great job!!

  2. Great positive post. I was sitting on the fence on this Nano thing, but going to try it.I had a vague idea for an outline for a sequel to my Girl in the Jitterbug Dress, but now I’ve got direction and pressure. Two good things! You’re right it is shocking for an agent to like NaNo 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. That is awesome news (you being open to queries). It is like coming down on Christmas morning (Go NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo!) and being told that you also get to celebrate your birthday!

  4. Chiara permalink

    Hi Michelle- I love your enthusiasm!

    I just queried you about a non NANO manuscript, so I’m feeling hopeful. Thank you for the thoughtful links.

    Happy NANO month to all!

  5. I’ve been waiting for this day to come!

  6. tycheent permalink

    NaNoWriMo is an interesting exercise, but one in which I wasn’t interested in actually engaging. I was busy at the time pretty much doing the same thing on my own. I think part of the problem that many have with it is that it takes a different type of writing style. Short chapters – about three to four thousand words, or about 6 pages in 12 point Ariel (yes, I know, but it was easier on my eyes at the time, since I was between eye operations). So, starting with a chapter a day, then increasing to two or three chapters by the end of the first month, it’s do-able. Of course, for one like me, retired and without transportation, putting in ten to sixteen hours a day was easy, and kept my brain working. Not everybody has that type of time, especially as a new writer. So, while I support the idea of NaNoWriMo – and have encouraged at least one writer in his endeavor – I don’t actually engage in it, myself.

    • What an interesting perspective. This is my first year of participating in Nano. I work, I have kids in sports, chess, theatre, voice (busy taxi mom) and my chapters are about 10 pages long, I made the goal of the month, but, of course, 50,000 words was not enough to complete my novel. I was thrilled though that I had accomplished so much in such a short time. I won’t rewrite my blog here (if you’re interested in my experience, you can check it out here, but I have to wonder what has given you the impression that there is a “style” of Nano. It’s something I had not thought about.

      • tycheent permalink

        I put out approximately 132,091 words in a little over a month – that’s 40 chapters, including research on various topics and graphics (images) to explain some of the things that would have been tough to describe. That’s where it started getting into 16 hours a day.

        BTW Congratulations on making your quota. It’s tough being a taxi service and working AND having kids. I know. My wife ‘babysits’ our grandchildren, and does transcription over the Internet. Her days are as long as mine.

        • WOW! Congrats to YOU! That’s incredible and amazing. I too, did research as I am writing somewhat historical fiction (more about swing dancing), but I wanted to get certain things right and make sure it was believable, facts about ballrooms, theatres, women only residence hotels etc. I’m sure it was not as extensive research as yours. Very best of luck on your novel it sounds like you’re off to a more than a good start and you’re not a man who needs NaNo to motivate you 😉

        • tycheent permalink

          Actually >COUGH< nine books in a year. Three trilogies, all on the same main character. Three at the age of 12, three at 16, then three at 21 – key points in a young girl's development. Well, that was first draft. They've been through several revisions since then.

          As for style, they're dialogue driven and conflict shaped. But it's the conflicts that keep the story going. And research was done while I was writing, not before the fact. For example, I hit on a point in the first chapter where a secondary character was supposed to pull out a passport. OK, what size is a passport? What's in it for information? How can I modify it for a universe in another dimension, and still have the protagonist maintain her American citizenship? Thank goodness for Google and Wikipedia.

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