NaNoWriMo 2007: Breaking Down the Numbers

NaNoWriMo 2007 ParticipantI attended the Lake County, Ohio NaNoWriMo kick-off meeting after dinner this evening. There were only four of us in attendance, but I enjoyed meeting a couple of new WriMos and talking to other people who were excited about getting to work on Thursday.

WriMos always talk about the 1,667 words we need to write each day in order to cross the finish line on 30 November but Betsy, the Lake County Municipal Liaison, broke the numbers down a little more: if you can type 50wpm (and I’m pretty sure I can manage that), it will take less than 34 minutes to complete those 1,667 words. At 70wpm, the daily allotment requires about 24 minutes, and at 90wpm, it’s a mere 18 and a half minutes.

Looking at the numbers another way, the writer who can consistently type at 90 words per minute needs only 9 hours and 26 minutes to complete their novel. Nine hours out of thirty days doesn’t seem like all that much of an investment, does it?

Ah, if only it were so simple.

5 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2007: Breaking Down the Numbers”

  1. Yeah. I can type upwards of 100 WPM. Trouble is, I can only think at about 2 WPM. I have yet to succeed, and I’m not sure if I should try this year. Got a lot of non-NaNo crap scheduled.

  2. So, lessee, I can easily do that speed, and even I can manage at least two periods of five hours each during the month. Great!

    Now I just need a plot. I can always do characters–it’s the plot that escapes me. I don’t like conflict. That results in BORING! Or just character sketches. Not exactly a novel.

  3. Yeah. I can type upwards of 100 WPM. Trouble is, I can only think at about 2 WPM. I have yet to succeed, and I’m not sure if I should try this year. Got a lot of non-NaNo crap scheduled.

    As do I, but I will not be deterred! I will be blogging every day, attending Con on the Cob and not growing a beard!

  4. So, lessee, I can easily do that speed, and even I can manage at least two periods of five hours each during the month. Great!

    Now I just need a plot. I can always do characters–it’s the plot that escapes me. I don’t like conflict. That results in BORING! Or just character sketches. Not exactly a novel.

    I can create conflict, but actual plotting seems just out of reach. My 2005 effort began with me sitting down to write on the 1st of November, typing “Let’s begin shall we?” and then figuring out who said it and why. Pebble in a pool stuff that created a lot of fine conflict but lacked any real direction. As a result, the story lacked cohesion and tended to wander aimlessly until I found a place for it to go for a while.

  5. Well, this is certainly not going to please anybody on this thread, as you shall see if you’re not tired of reading comments from “Rob.”

    Why does it take me so long to write a book (first book took three years and second looks to be taking about that)? I spend about one year actually writing the book but before that, I spend two years THINKING about it. Mapping out my plot, making observations, thinking about character traits and even certain sentences and different writing methods: should this section be in the first person, should there be an omniscient narrator? And so on.

    I find there comes a point that I have thought things through and am actually itching to start typing. For a contest like this one, you either have a plot ready to go and can write on the fly (very few authors are good at this, by the way). You’ll hear stories about how Hemingway wrote this or that in thirty days but what you’re not being told is how long Hemingway thought about that story before sitting down to a piece of paper.

    I hope some of you do find plots that interest you and you are able to move that plot along in the next thirty days. I also hope that Mr. Johnson finds the time to post a little sample of his writing/story so that we can enjoy reading it, as I did last year. Even if his story or writing style is not my cup of tea, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading it. My motto is: I’ll read anything but I’ll love very little.

    If anybody is casting about for an idea, here’s something that might get you started which you could have a little fun with: A man enters the NaNoWriMo writing contest. He doesn’t have any idea for a story. He just sits there typing gibberish on his computer, various characters, whatnot. After two days, he’s quite discouraged and about to give up when he starts typing and something quite mysterious happens. You can dream up any number of mysterious things: perhaps the story starts writing him, things he types start happening in his life. He’s not authoring a mere story, he’s authoring his life in a literal sense. What is he going to do with this ability and what will happen when the month is up? Is the new ability limited to one month, as he fears it is? Should he just write himself a great job and a bootylicious wife? He’s enjoying his newfound ability when the CONSEQUENCES arrive.

    The neat thing about this kind of story is that you can write ABOUT writing. Just food for thought in case anybody wants to take that and run with it.

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