Posted by: roamingolivia | October 26, 2010

Should I write a novel next month?

I feel like my recent geographic dislocation (I have been moving around a lot the past few weeks) does not allow me to sufficiently assess this privately, so I will post it on my blog. Yesterday I wanted to look at some forums for National Novel Writing Month, which I think is a bit gimmicky (165,000 people sign up). I made a login to look at the pages, and I immediately got an email that said: “Well, you did it. You’ve gone and pledged your November to the pursuit of the month-long novel.” This made my head spin a bit – I did not pledge! I just wanted a login.

But now I am thinking I should just do it. Maybe it is (a) a fun social activity and (b) a good way to make yourself write something. I am always “thinking of” writing a novel?

Back on the negative side, November is an extraordinarily busy month. Why can’t NaNoWriMo be in February? Or basically any time but November or December? And why do I always seem to be moving at this time of year as well?

And then on the other other hand (I guess back on the first hand), realistically I am always busy and I should just do it because I’m probably not going to be much less busy than this, even in less-busy months. More specifically, I probably should have done it in Milan, when I was actually really far less busy. Yay procrastination. Plus, I’m poor so I might as well stay in with my laptop.

Have you guys done NaNoWriMo before? Any tips?

Relatedly (related to the novel I might go ahead and write), do you know of any good books with interesting interrogation scenes? I mostly mean fiction books, with dialogue – and probably not involving torture.



  1. I can’t point you to a specific citation, but I recall “who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” as one long and tense interrogation.

  2. Yes, do it! Because I’m doing it too, and the novel is never that good, but it is an absorbing intellectual exercise. It also provided me with interesting insights about reading novels.

    It’s only 1666 words a day.

  3. do it! because then maybe i’ll try it too? although i will say i’ll not get anywhere near 1666 words a day (that’s 6 and 2/3 double-spaced pages a day — one of those 5-7 page papers we used to knock out by the dozen each week in college). i can’t even finish an email most days without interruption.

  4. oh, and i can look around for some good dialogue books. i never notice those things while i’m reading because i don’t stop to think, “oh, that person’s saying something. this is dialogue,” — i just read the story.

  5. Do it! And send it to me–I want to read it!

  6. This is how Dickens used to stop procrastinating and get it done.

    But seriously I think you should do it.

  7. I’d say go for it. There’s always some reason not to write. So, you might as well commit yourself to a huge writing task. Even if you fall short, you’ll have a big chunk of a novel done, which is much more than none of a novel done.

    Also, for interrogation scenes, L.A. Confidential (James Ellroy) is great. It’s neo-noir cop stuff, but I think it’s got some good examples. If you have library access, it should be pretty available via library.

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