Thought, experience and memory from a brain in a jar, one that sometimes has control over a thirty-two-year-old Londonite.

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Location: Herne Hill, London, United Kingdom

27 November, 2007

The Today Programme

For some reason the Today programme decided to run an item on NaNoWriMo this morning, but as a debate between a NaNoWriMoer and a publisher. The latter's main thrust seemed to be that she was down on NaNoWriMo because it threatened to make her slush pile larger, as if she wasn't already inundated, and everyone she speaks to seems to be writing a novel, yah boo. And although we have heard writer after writer say that the hardest thing about writing is sitting down and writing terrible stuff when they're really not in the mood, she cautioned against the idea of people using NaNo as a way of turning off their inner-editors. Ironically, it was she and not the NaNoWriMoer who seemed to be confusing a first draft with a finished manuscript. And this just three days (and 1800 words, chiz chiz) before the finish-line!

The NaNoWriMo done us proud, though, standing her ground, explaining it was about writing, not about getting published, and that it was a tool used by some writers to develop early drafts of works they then go on to develop into full novels.

I can't help but bring up Kerouac's On The Road here, and whereas the odds are against NaNo ever producing or discovering a Kerouac, it does demonstrate that NaNo-like writing stints are a valid and important part of, if not the development of literature itself, certainly the development of the writers themselves. The publisher suggested that if people were serious about writing then they wouldn't need NaNo to motivate them, but sadly those people are the people to be found in her slush pile. I suspect that NaNo might serve the world better in giving people who, maybe, you know, can actualy write, the excuse and the motivation to get down to it, and adopt the discipline that will actually allow them to fluorish, with or without publication.

Oh, and you can plan your story all you like, but you never know your story 'til you sit down and write it, and NaNo, again, is a great way of doing that.

But anyhew, for all I know the publisher doesn't really give two figs about NaNo, and was just playing devil's advocate at the behest of the Today Programme. This conflict was probably fiction.



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