Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's NANO Season Again, Protect Your Loved Ones

For those of you who aren't familiar with this form of self-flagellation, NANO stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November thousands of people pledge to write 50,000 words (175 pages). NANO officially starts 12:00am November 1st and ends 11:59pm November 30th. Those outside of this phenomenon will simply view it as some sort of pandemic, worse than the dreaded Bird Flu scare. As my civic duty, I've offered treatment for those who love these idiots.


Stage 1: Giddiness

The participant has just signed up.

Symptoms: Feverish excitement, the desire to spend thousands of dollars on needless office supplies, frequent bursts of "Whoppee!!!" and declarations that they are finally a writer.

Treatment: Nod indulgently and begin making plans for the month of November that will take you away from your loved one.

Stage 2: Shock with frequent bouts of Denial

The participant realizes November 1st is actually going to come and doesn't exist in the distant future.

Symptoms: moaning, chills, repetition of the question, "What have I done?", fear of the computer, irritability when well meaning loved ones say things like, "Who told you to sign up for it anyway?", incessant complaining

Treatment: Don't say, "Who told you to sign up for it anyway?", offer words of encouragement, and make certain you stay away from this person for the upcoming month

Stage 3: Panic

Also known as the official start of NANO. Reality has set in.

Symptoms: fever, complaints of vague aches and pains, staring into the white screen of a blank document, spiritual shivering

Treatment: There is none at this stage. Don't suggest starting at the beginning, this could send them into a downward spiral. Offer encouragement but from another room or better yet by email.

Stage 4: Anger

This is where Chris Baty, founder of NANO, will begin to experience a lot of negative energy coming his way.

Symptoms: rage, tantrums, tears, foul language, and some have reported talking in tongues

Treatment. NONE! STAY AWAY. Take a trip, don't answer your phone or emails from this person. It will only end badly.

Stage 5: Bargaining

Self pity and prayer.

Symptoms: a tendency to beg and offer up empty promises, the participant will begin smelling pretty rank at this time and looking ragged on their diet of Cheetos and left over Halloween candy, more tears

Treatment: for those strong enough offer a comforting pat on the back but be careful the participant can slip right back into Stage 5- anger.

Stage 6: Depression

Symptoms: wandering and mumbling aimlessly, head on desk with more crying but this time silent

Treatment: Enjoy the fact that they are leaving you out of this mess. Get some early holiday shopping done. You might want to pick up some air fresheners and discreetly place around the participant.

Stage 7: The Last Stage

The little engine that thinks perhaps...

Symptoms: zombie-like trance, auto typing (as in 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'), loss of hearing and speech, grunting, and dangerous flatulence from too much candy corn. There would be tears but by this stage the tear ducts are non-functioning.

Treatment: Get away. No one should see someone they love this way.

Stage 8: The End

12:00am December 1st

Symptoms: snoring, drooling and more flatulence

Treatment: towel under the head, drool can screw up the keyboard.

Good luck!

Write on!


jublke said...

LOL. :) I think I'm trapped somewhere between stages 3 and 4: shock, alternating with anger. I seem to have hit a plateau at 5,000 words and I am mad ... at my character. Why isn't she easier to write about? It's all *her* fault! How silly is that?

Kristy Shreve Powers aka No Shame Novelist said...

Ahhh, I've recently left behind stages 3 and 5. I'm in the zone now. I have gone from loving NaNo to disliking it to ignoring it to hating it to loving it again, just like every other year.

Time to write again...