Signups for National Novel Writing Month opened today. If you haven't heard of this before, idea behind it is for participants to write 50,000+ words of fiction each during the month of November. This works out to something like 6 or 7 pages a day, so it's not a small job. You don't get any prize for passing the word count except a PDF certificate to print out and, of course, your very own novel. But I'd say that's enough. Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, has a new book out: No Plot? No Problem! It's all about writing a novel in 30 days, and it's excellent. Amusing, inspiring and encouraging all at the same time, so definitely recommended for anyone interested in trying this.
The genius of it all is in the deadline. A great many people daydream or talk about writing a novel "some day," but very few actually do. Being given a mere month to write an entire novel basically gives people permission to write complete crap if they need to, as long as they write enough. And that gets them through the hardest part of novel writing -- getting started and getting the bulk of the text written. Plus, if lots of other people are doing the same thing during the same month, you can get people together for writing parties and support groups and whatnot, which helps, too. When it's all over, you can decide to go on to edit and revise your novel, and try to make it something worth actually reading. Or you can just let it all go as having been a fun exercise in creativity. Whatever.
I'm signed up for it, so I'm going to give it a shot. I haven't a clue whether or not I can actually do it, and it's moderately terrifying to think about. But on the other hand, it could be extremely cool. What have I got to lose, anyway? Andrea, one of my cube-mates, is going to do it too, so we can encourage each other through it.
The rules are that you can think up characters and plot outlines and such ahead of time, but you can't write any prose until 12:00:01 am November 1st. So I will happily accept any ideas people might want to throw my way. What should I write a novel about?