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NoNoWriMo --> NaNoEdMo?
I'm sure you've all heard of National Novel Writing Month, which encourages folks to try to write a 50K word novel in one month. It's a laudable endeavor, and I wish to take nothing away from those who try and succeed.

But first drafts of novels, especially those written by folks without experience at writing novels, are often pretty bad. Which is OK, because it's a first draft, and not really ready-for-distribution yet. Even very experienced authors can put out crap when just writing, which is encouraged by the pace of NaNoWriMo. It's important to get the words on paper without second-guessing oneself. It's a lesson I need to do myself -- I think about several thousands of words of writing I never commit to bits because I keep revising it in my head and not just getting it out. But it often produces crap.

Which is where editing comes in. Once a pro writer gets his 50K of steaming fececious words down, and the story is told in a spectacularly craptaculous way, he or she can then, dispassionately, sit down with printouts and red pen and mark down everything thats wrong with it. Sure, the pages may end up with more red than black, and that may be disheartening, but then the writer needs to sit back down at the computer with stack of marked up pages in hand and start cleaning the Stygian stables of the first draft. Cutting out parts which didn't work, rearranging sections which came to mind in one order but really make better dramatic sense in another, creating characters which were sorely missing while removing characters who, dramatically speaking, just sat around with their thumbs up their asses, the writer recrafts her novel into a better work. Once that is done, he repeats the process.

Finally, when the (now possibly shorter than 50K) novel can be read by the author dispassionately without cringing, he can contact a trusted friend (trusted not in the sense of not giving away your novel's secrets, but trusted to tell you the truth), give her the novel, and say "What's wrong with it?". A serious author doesn't want to be told that the novel is good, but wants to be told where it stinks, so he can go back and clean it more in those places.

Pro writers get help from pro editors in just this fashion. Usually. Have you ever had a favorite author who has written a lot of very popular books and noticed a serious decline in the quality of the writing (to the point of seeing grammar and spelling mistakes) in later books? Sometimes, when an author is big enough, the publisher seriously cuts back on the amount of pro editing they pay for -- after all, the author is good, right? He doesn't need the editing, right? So what you are seeing is close to the raw, unedited output of the author. And it sucks.

So NaNoWriMo really needs to be followed by a NaNoEdMo. I guarantee a lot more good writing will come out if that's done.

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When I wrote an article for O'Reilly, my editor told me that he needed to do very little to it before publication. Perhaps this is more of a compliment than I realized.

Speaking as a tech writer, that is a /huge/ compliment.

December is NaNoEdMo. It's just not as well known as Nanowrimo.

How close after the WriMo would you have the EdMo happen?

As Lovediamond mentioned in another comment, apparantly December is supposed to be NaNoEdMo, but few people know about it.

possibly because not many ppl follow through on the "wri" part of Nanowrimo....
with the "wri" you don't *need* the "ed" ;).... the trick is to get yourself writing without the inner critic/editor getting in the way.....

You need both the wri and the ed, just not (usually) at the same time.

it's the combination of the self editing & the writing process that usually stops ppl from writing.... their fears & insecurities get in their way

being a past winner and a current runner - heee heee - actually the whole problem with knowing about the editing is it Begins at midnight plus 1 Dec 1 - and takes as long as it takes, so its not just another Mo they can tag - but its right there on the website with the NaNoWriMo

I'm at 18,244 as of today - a bit behind my projection but still doable - I Love This Month!

Edited at 2007-11-16 11:52 pm (UTC)

passing through on friendsfriends...

NaNoEdMo is in March, to allow a break from the mss before revising/editing. The goal is to spend 50 hours revising the NaNo text. Not much recent activity here, but it looks like there was participation in 2007.


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