Ah, November: a time of thanksgiving, and a time of NANOWRIMO!! Yup, it’s now officially 3 days into the wonderful November tradition (now in it’s tenth year) that writers everywhere simultaneously loathe and love – NaNoWriMo. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, NaNoWriMo–or National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
And this year, thanks to the folks at BookOven, NaNoWriMo partcipants will also have a chance to get their work edited! BookOven’s Hugh McGuire is inviting all NaNoWriMo-ers to take advantage of the company’s Bite-Size Edits program. Here’s how it works:
1. NaNoWriMo participants just go to http://bookoven.com and register for an account
2. Create a new project, and tag it “nanowrimo” (you can make your project public or private)
3. Invite a group of friends, or fellow writers to be proofreaders
4. Every day, post your finished Nanowrimo text into a new chapter
5. Turn on Bite-Size Edits
6. Send a message to your team of proofreaders, letting them know a new text is ready for editing (be sure to include the URL to Bite-Size Edits for the project)
7. When Nanowrimo is done, you can accept/reject/modify the edits made by your team
8. And then, when you’re ready to look at the novel again, you’ll have a clean copy of your text ready to polish into something wonderful (or to make you shudder with shame!)
McGuire sees Bite-Size Edits and NaNoWriMo as a great combination. “Bite-Size Edits has been this very useful little secret for a while, and we thought that Nanowrimo was a perfect place, where rough texts are being produced, and getting other eyes to look at the text is valuable,” he explained. “The other nice thing is that with Nanowrimo, you don’t necessarily want to show your novel to people – it’s expected to be a mess. Because Bite-Size Edits chops the text up, and serves it randomly, editors don’t see the whole thing, just parts. So you don’t have to worry about revealing just how messy the book really is.”
Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo agrees: “Bite-Size Edits is a very cool tool, and coinciding [this invitation] with NaNoWriMo taps into the spirit of wordiness that pervades the month.”
Should NaNoWriMo-ers consider actively editing via Bite-Size Edits as they write? McGuire doesn’t think so. “November is for Nanowrimo–it’s for writing; post-November, the writer can take a look at what they’ve got. But the nice thing here is that they’ll have a cleaner text to work with when they are ready. And, the other great thing is they’ll have some people already engaged in the text.”
David Nygren, an author whose work “Boy/Girl” is undergoing community editing on Bite-Size Edits, believes NaNoWriMo-ers should try it out. ” I see it as the ideal editing tool for the final stage of the editing process, once it’s time to make certain that each sentence is tight. One of the best things about it is being able to get input from a wide variety of people. Although you can invite specific people to edit, to annotate or to do Bite-Size Edits on your project, much of the input you’ll get is from people going through random snippets, doing Bite-Size Edits for a variety of projects. It’s invaluable to get feedback from such a large pool of people.”
David’s advice for NaNoWriMo-ers? “I would strongly advise them to put whatever they create as part of NaNoWriMo on Book Oven right away. Don’t wait until you think it’s ‘good enough.’ Put the chapters up as you write them (chapters can be added to a single project individually). It’s the ideal way to, in a sense, publish without publishing. Their work will be out there online for people to see, but since Book Oven is an editing platform, everyone knows it’s not the final work. Nobody is going to hold the imperfections against you. Why not get whatever feedback you can?” He also suggests that those who do put their work up on Bite-Size Edits include some kind of cover image for their project. “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy,” Nygren says,” But, judging by the number of views per project, people browsing through the projects tend to gravitate toward those with some kind of cover.”
Definitely sounds like a cool way to get your work in progress a bit closer to finished format! For those of you NaNoWriMo’ers who try it out, please let us know how it goes. And good luck with the novel writing, folks!