So, November is NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – that time of year during which aspiring authors commit to churning out a 50,000-word manuscript in the space of thirty days.
Wonder Wife, over the past few years, has been using NaNoWriMo as a spur to parallel-but-not-quite-the-same efforts, since she is a writer and artist but not a novelist. Two years ago, it was CoPoWriMo, or Coco Poem Writing Month, during which she and her writing group composed a poem a day. Last November, she undertook CoBloWriMo – Coco Blog-Writing Month – and wrote a blog post every day. This year, she is engaging with CocAnWriMo: Coco Answer-Writing Month. Her flock of peeps are sending in questions about her art and work, and she is answering one a day. Super Sissy is also getting into the act, and has committed to creating thirty haiku poems during November – to be published all at once at the end of the month.
Participating in NaNoWriMo is on my do-list, but it’s not going to happen this year, not with the teaching load I am currently carrying. At the same time, I am trying to get back to some of the structured activity that served me so well over the summer. My following Wonder Wife’s lead in approaching this began to sound like a good idea.
My first thought was NaGNoWriMo – National Graphic Novel Writing Month. It doesn’t exist, actually - although the Stranger, a Seattle alternative weekly newspaper, tried to get one going a few years back. The Stranger specified a 48-page comic plus covers, but I can’t find any evidence that anyone ever produced anything under this aegis.
Since I’d be going it alone, I decided it would be called WaGNoWriMo, for Walaka Graphic Novel Writing Month. I came up with the idea of 50 pages by taking the NaNoWriMo 50,000-word standard and applying the equation 1 picture = 1,000 words (counting each comic page as one picture).
Then I realized that I am even less capable of producing a 50-page graphic novel in a month than I am of writing a prose novel in month. Forget the talent (since there is none to speak of) – I am back to not having enough time.
So then I thought: well, I can consider each panel a picture for calculating equivalent word count. If I bite Dave Gibbons's Watchmen style and use a nine-panel grid, that could be as little as six pages! Of course, it is cheating a bit – it would be hard to argue that one could get the scope of 50,000-word novel into a even a twenty-six-page comic – so a new name was needed. Thus was born
Walaka Comic Writing Month. A more modest goal, but perhaps more doable. I’ll reveal the results at the end of November. Wish me luck!