Wednesday, November 03, 2010

November Means Word Counts

Ah yes, November. NaNoWriMo is upon us.

As you sit on the commuter train with your official NaNoWriMo coffee mug, laptop open, your fingers fly across the keyboard. Your novel comes into being in regulated chunks, a set word count goal that you must complete each day or.....lose bragging rights, I suppose.

The notion of sitting down in the month of November to pen a novel got its start in San Francisco. Where else could such a bizarre idea have surfaced?

Participants sign up and set their daily goal, and then set about meeting it. While they work, they can proclaim their status as NaNoWriMo writers with all sorts of goodies, like web badges for decorating social media sites.

What comes out at the end might be treasure, but it's more likely to be trash if the novel even gets finished. Most quit well before the conflict is resolved and the protagonist triumphs.

For those of us who have been writing daily for years, without word count goals because we know how unrealistic a goal it is, the month of December is what counts.

That's when the NaNo authors, thinking they have the next best seller, start flooding the inboxes of literary agents. Literary agents get aggravated, and it's a tsunami of rejections.

If you've worked hard on your manuscript, spent months polishing the writing and revising one chapter after another, you don't want to be the victim of an agent's foul mood. December is no time to be querying.

Sure there's the holiday season at the end of the month, giving you only a couple of weeks to get your manuscript noticed. Those couple of weeks, however, are periods of heavy NaNoWriMo querying and your well-crafted query letter is as likely to go unnoticed as it is to stand out for its quality.

If you're ready to query, it's time to pull the trigger and hit the Send button. Waiting until next month could be a mistake.

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