November is the month when a lot of men get handlebar envy because they’re unable to grow a decent ‘tash in aid of Movember. If only Nietzsche was still with us. However, it’s also the month when a tonne of writers across the globe wave goodbye to their partners and lock themselves away for the month to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The fact that this post is published so late in the month suggests the closest I’ll be able to manage is a Haiku…but you never know.
The remit of NaNoWriMo is essentially volunteering to write a 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time. Purists out there might classify this measly word count as closer to the novella, a literary genre which can be traced as far back as to Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375), author of The Decameron (1353) — which was told by seven women, three men and a pet goat. The story saw characters fleeing the Black Death in Florence and heading to the Fiesole hills.
A month might not be long enough to replicate Eleanor Catton’s Booker-winning The Luminaries, which weighs in at a whopping 832 pages but let’s not forget that Julian Barnes took the ‘posh bingo’ for 160 pages with The Sense of an Ending in 2011.
If you don’t have time to write your own bestseller then check out #GrammoWriMo who plan to organize the largest group of authors to ever collaborate on a novel in what could be seen as an unconscious nod to Giovanni Boccaccio. To find out more read their blog entry here. If you’re too busy to click on the link, here’s a quick interview with Grammarly’s Allison VanNest.
Why are you doing GrammoWriMo?
Many of us on the Grammarly team are – or have been – participants in National Novel Writing Month. It is a great mental exercise for participants who want to get into the habit of writing more frequently. However, life is busy. Some people are scared away from signing up for NaNoWriMo by the 50,000-word writing requirement. Although this is an attainable goal, we wanted to create an opportunity for writers to participate in NaNoWriMo that would not be so time-consuming.”
What do you hope to achieve through GrammoWriMo?
We love what NaNoWriMo is doing for writers, and we hope that the more than 500 people who have signed up for GrammoWriMo so far will fall in love with writing – and with National Novel Writing Month – as well. In addition to creating a one-of-a-kind project in support of NaNoWriMo, our goal with GrammoWriMo has been to strengthen our active community of writers and to support the pursuit of writing in any way we can.
Why is GrammoWriMo a good thing for writers to be involved in?
Our hope is that GrammoWriMo will strengthen Grammarly’s community of writers, provide a support group (of sorts) to NaNoWriMo participants, and perhaps even break a world record. If we are able to publish the final novel, all proceeds will go to a writing-related charity to further support the cause.”
Crack on then. You’ve got 12 days left. Just enough time to write a novel and grow a Burt Reynolds…