Site of the week: The internet writes a novel at The Best of NaNoWriMo
As you may or may not know, November isn’t just about not shaving — it’s also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A writing-based non-profit organization sponsors the event with their site, which offers tips, guidelines, and forums where fellow scribblers can swap notes on how to make it to the mandated 50K word count by November 30th at midnight.
Naturally, such forums and all-too-earnest tip trading inspired one snarky anonymous to launch a tumblr called The Best of NaNoWriMo, whose tagline sums up its goal: “guess what happens when you ask the internet to write a book in a month.” The blog seeks to show exactly what horrible and hilarious things happen by showcasing and mocking some of the more ridiculous novel excerpts and questions that arise when trying to create a work of art in a month.
Begun November 9th, the blog poaches posts from the official NaNoWriMo site, including screen shots of the message thread, so that the comedy comes from a combination of the poster’s user name, profile picture, word count progress, and of course, their excerpt, advice, or dilemma. For example, someone with an animé avatar posted to the “Dirty tricks to reaching 50K” thread: “Have your characters have a game night! My assassins just spent 700 words playing Taboo.” As with this example, the posts’ absurdity often speaks for itself, but sometimes the tumblr moderator will offer his opinion as a punch line. For example, another tip from the same thread tells writers to include research in the novel to take up word space — “[My main character] wants to get a cat and decides on a Siamese, so she tells her friend all about what she learned about Siamese cats. LOL.” The tumblr mastermind replies, “I thought Hemingway was dead, but that’s him, right?” Or in response to the prompt, “What’s your favorite line of what you’ve written today?” one woman submitted: “The door swung open, revealing a mess of blonde hair and sweat pants frantically digging in Caroline’s closet.” He responds: “Get this woman a torso.”
While quite a number of tumblr users have called the blog out for being needlessly cruel and pretentious, it’s hard not to laugh at some of the dud lines people dredge up for their off-Twilight fan fic they seem to consider literature of consequence. Moreover, the blog makes a keen point about the value in creating something versus simply generating content to fill a quota and deadline. You don’t have to be heartless to see the irony in the fact that there are 740 posts to the thread on cheating your way to 50,000 words, while there are only 115 for the thread, “Reaching 50K WITHOUT padding.” Mean-spirited or not, The Best of NaNoWriMo lets you laugh rather than weep at the death of literature.
Culture News By Siobhan McBride
Clearing the haze of amazingness.>>
Books News By J.E. Reich
Mary O'Connell's Holden Caulfied is decidedly a phony.>>
Books News By Greg Dybec
Who needs horse races?>>
Culture News By Sarah Madges
Don Draper meets Don DeLillo.>>