Roman vérité

Ah, another year, and another invitation to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month. Ten days until November first. Ten days to mull it over.

Most novels, I am led to believe, are the result of much planning ahead, writing and rewriting, editing and reshaping. But I have a thing about NaNoWriMo.

I always take it as a challenge to try to write a novel by simply plunging ahead, starting on the first of November and writing linearly, day by day, until I get to the end of the month. It’s a crazy way to write a novel, I know.

Yet you can think of it as a separate genre, a sort of roman vérité. Like the relationship between playwriting and improv, or between a symphony and a jazz session. The novel written straight ahead, one foot in front of the other, is its own art form.

I’m not saying it’s a superior art form, just a different one. In some years the ideas flow, the character arcs soar, and the whole thing resolves into a novel. In other years it all just crashes down with a resounding thud.

Either way, I’m usually just as surprised as everyone else.

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