What does a writer look like?

The reason I ask this is because I had to find a bunch of them on Sunday at a NaNoWriMo meet up.

I imagine at this point you’re more concerned with what ‘NaNoWriMo’ is, as opposed to what a combination of berets, smoking pipes and glasses of scotch all add up to.

So let’s deal with that first, and come back to the stereotypes after. Mainly as I’m fairly certain I’ve covered writer clichés in a previous post, and seriously, what the hell is NaNoWriMo?

So, NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation of ‘National Novel Writing Month’. A global challenge to write a 50,000 word novel over the month of November. To put that in normal terms, that’s about 1,667 words a day, or the equivalent of ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘Brave New World,’ or ‘The Great Gatsby’.

Seeing as I’ve not written anything that long before – most of my stories tend to be between 15,000 to 20,000 words – it seemed like a good challenge. It’s more about committing to the word count and process, as opposed to actually writing anything half decent.

So I’ve now got 50,000 words to play with story arks, character develop, foreshadowing and ‘pantsing’. And the month of November to work out what all those things mean.

There are NaNoWriMo groups set up all over the world, and on Sunday the Christchurch branch met in Hagley Park for a pre-NaNoWriMo meetup. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring along any form of signage, resulting in yours truly wandering the café grounds listening out for terms such as ‘story arks’, ‘character develop’, ‘foreshadowing’, and ‘pantsing’.

After an extensive process of elimination – i.e. asking various groups of people if they were part of the ‘Narowi… the writing group people,’ I eventually managed to find a group of very ordinary looking people, with a few books laid out on the floor between them. No beret’s, pipes or glasses of scotch between them. It soon became apparent that I may have over-dressed somewhat.





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