Below is a typed out version of the Noveling Affidavit that comes from Chris Baty's NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! Novel-Writing Kit. A lovely friend who has this kit was kind enough to make me a copy of the above affidavit, which we signed together last Friday. We're both participating in this year's novel-writing month challenge and it's necessary to have writerly support all around for such crazy commitments. The National Novel Writing Month may have begun with something like 21 people back in 1999, but this year there are people from nearly every continent jumping in. It's exciting to know there are writers carving out their stories all at the same time all over the world, and I'm looking forward to being one of them.
I've been reading and developing character backgrounds and thinking non-stop about this novel project, so have already managed to overwhelm myself with all the planning I convinced myself I should do before beginning. Today I'm not thinking about any of it - aside from writing this post - so that come tomorrow morning, I'll be excited and ready to start this story.
Thursday morning I will begin writing a novel and by November 30th the goal is to have 50,000 words written, the first draft completed of a new manuscript. It's equal parts insane and exciting. With my plans for a previous mentioned young adult manuscript suddenly halted and drastically changed, the timing is pretty great to focus elsewhere on something completely different and completely new. I'm sort of counting on being able to stick to this 30 day commitment partly because I stuck with the 30 day daily blog thing. Plus there's the whole wanting to be a professional author and all.
I, Lindsey Cole, hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month's time.
By invoking an absurd monthlong deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of craft, brilliance, and competency are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.
During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will be left in my rough draft, to be corrected or excised at a later point. I understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem it complete. I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process, should such inflation prove useful in garnering me respect, attention, or freedom from household chores.
I acknowledge that the monthlong, 50,000-word deadline I set for myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has begun, will result in well-deserved mockery from friends and family. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks, afterward.
Signed and dated with a witness, so it's serious business. And now I've effectively made you a witness, if not to my signing of this agreement, then to my sharing and acknowledging of it. You now have permission to question/encourage me with regards to my novel-in-progress, just be aware that depending on how far into the month it is and what condition my mental state is currently in, I may run from you.
WARNING: If you know me in real life and see me out and about in November, please excuse the dark circles under my eyes, over-caffeinated jitters, far-off staring in the middle of conversations, and unwashed hair. I will likely have been obsessing for hours over plot conflicts or the color of somebody's shirt, then left my house in an attempt to recapture some semblance of normalcy among other human people. I appreciate your understanding and willingness to selectively ignore the weirdness that may or may not escape me in the coming month.
I'll keep you in the loop and will hopefully be celebrating a first draft in a month's time. I'll also be a year older by the time that happens - how's that for time flying by?