One of the most eye opening exercises for me was this thing they do called a "Word War." Everyone was supposed to write as many words as they could in 10 minutes. I thought I wrote pretty fast--I put down 271 words in the allotted time. Those 271 words were not as good as my normal first draft words (which if you'll recall, aren't very good to start with)--they were rushed. I didn't have time to think through what I was going to write or how the dialogue should flow and apparently I really need that time to think things through.
So get this--almost every other person at the write in did over 700 words (700 words in 10 minutes!) and one woman did over 1000! While I am in awe of these people's typing skills, the exercise made me realize why agents plead with authors not to submit NaNo novels. What kind of quality does this sort of writing encourage?
It takes me about 3 hours to write my daily 2500 words, and those are pretty crumby first draft words. I can't imagine how much more they would stink if I wrote them in 25 minutes.
Sure, there's revision, but how much can revision help if the first draft is terrible--if the story isn't well thought out? Is this NaNo business really a good thing? Maybe there should be a month where we encourage people to write good stuff instead of 50,000 words of crap?
Wow, that was quite the little rant. I really don't have a problem with NaNo if it gives people the push they need to get a novel done. I've been having fun with my own manuscript, despite the daily word goal. But I don't like the idea of writing a lot of words just so I can say I "won." I'll feel like a winner if I get a usable first draft out of the experience--something I can revise (for 3-6 months) and be proud of, even if I don't make it to 50,000.
Does this quantity over quality style of writing worry any of the rest of you? Am I crazy? Anyone planning to query novels in December along with thousands of rushed NaNo manuscripts? Thoughts?