Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaNoWriMo: Quality AND Quantity

Happy November, everyone! For many people November equals NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It's a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I want to take this opportunity to go through NaNo with you, and to look at the writing process in great detail.

Today, we're discussing both quality and quantity. To some extent, this is a continuation from last week's post which addressed word counts.

As we established last week, you want to target around 50,000 words if you are going to write a full-length novel.

So we have quantity, but we also need to discuss quality.

NaNo makes no bones about focusing on quantity rather than quality. When I first heard that (when I did my first NaNo), I was appalled. How could you focus on quantity rather than quality?! I didn't want to churn out some second-rate book.

My perception has changed, though. NaNo is a challenge to get it on paper. That's the focus. It's more about laying down the foundation so you can go back and polish your piece, rather than having a perfectly stellar novel ready for publication in only a month's time. 

In order to write a story, you have to start somewhere. NaNo is the perfect vehicle to get you started.

Could anyone achieve both quantity and quality in only 30 days? I suppose it is plausible, but I don't think it's realistic. If I was to wager money on anyone accomplishing that, it would be Stephen King. 

I don't even think that he would say that he could or would do that. Far better than most of us, he understands the importance of the entire writing process. That process includes editing and revision so that once the quantity is there, the quality follows suit.

It's not easy to have both. It takes time and dedication. Believe you me, I would love to just wake up, type away, and have both quantity and quality. To have a fairy godmother tap her wand on my laptop and boom! There's a perfect novel! If only it were that simple!

You can have quantity and quality, and you really should strive for them both. Just be patient with yourself and the process. It'll be worth it in the end!

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