Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 - Interactive Writing

So I've been long wondering how best to use social networking tools to drive traffic to my website.  And it's hard.  As you can see, I've been busy lately, so I haven't been putting in as much work on the website lately.  But with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) just around the corner, I believe I've found a way to incorporate writing, social networking, and website development into one exciting project: Dragons Vs. Machine Guns.
The premise of the project is simple.  For NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel.  It doesn't need to be a good novel - doesn't even need to be a finished novel - but you do need to finish 50,000 words.  And since you're writing just over 1,600 words per day, you have no chance to really plan.  You might have a plot in your head, but that plot might not survive the few hours of writing you manage each day in the scramble to put words on the page.

This opens a wonderful opportunity.  Ordinarily, you'd never write a novel fast enough for readers to get daily updates.  For a truly finished novel, especially, it may take a year (or more) before the rough draft is ready.  Or if you're like me, you have five or six "novels-in-progress," each one in varying states of "not-yet-ready-to-share-but-not-really-sure-I-want-to-throw-this-in-the-trash-yet."

But why go through all the hassle and self-doubt?  Why ask yourself what your readers want?  Why not just ask them as you're writing it?  You know, let them vote on whether or not the hero's doing a good job.  Should he save the girl?  Should the girl save him?  Or should the hero be a girl who hops up on a dragon for her daily commute to the office?

I mean, what's the worst case scenario?  The readers hope the hero will spontaneously burst into flames?  They vote to have the village razed by flesh-eating fire-breathers?  I mean, yes, those would be disturbing possibilities.  (What kind of readers are these??)

Either way, it's about creativity.  NaNoWriMo isn't about writing the Great American Novel - it's about finishing a draft.  And maybe having more reader input will make it a more interesting draft.  If nothing else, it allows the readers to take an active role in deciding how their novel ends.  A quick vote at the end of each day, a tally of results the next morning, and a new chapter begins.

Let's see how this goes.


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