This year will be my fourth NaNoWriMo! Here are some tips to get you through the month and hopefully get to 50k in 30 days.
If you’re an over writer, great! Indulge in every bit of extra description and unnecessary dialog you can think of.
If you’re an underwriter (like me), don’t forget to
include description, including what the MC hears, sees, tastes and
feels, but don’t add so much that you lose the story. After you’re done
with your story, you will probably be short of words. That’s ok. At the
end of the story, write all the lavish setting descriptions, backstory,
character profiles or quirks, and possible subplot ideas. You can decide
later if you want to add this to your story when you revise.
Start on November 1st no matter what.
Even if you just put down a couple of words or a sentence. Then add to
it every day that you can – try for every day, even if it’s only a
couple of words. It’s a lot harder to finish if you only write half the
time, although it can be done.
Stay off discussion boards and social marketing sites
if it’s keeping you from your work. Actually a good tip even if you’re
not doing NaNo, although it’s really hard to do. If it’s helping you,
then stay on the discussion boards, etc.
Use NaNoWriMo to your benefit. The traditional NaNo
rules or word count might not fit your style or project. Use the
dedicated time to finish a project, start something new that’s longer
than 50k, or revise/rewrite a manuscript. Whatever you need/want to do,
you should do that. NaNo is great fun, although a bit crazy, but if it
derails your writing, it’s not worth it. Do what works for you and have a
good time. Find a friend or two or three hundred to do it with you. You
can each set your own goals and cheer each other on.
Have a plan. A plan doesn’t have to be a detailed
outline or even a plot, but if you have an idea for a story or even a
character’s name, it will help you to get going right away.
My plan this year – to fix problems in past years. Use my plan if you want. If you do, you’ll need 4 things.
1. Novel info (yours might be slightly different than mine):
main character, secondary characters and a basic plot idea. (I also
have ideas about the world it’s going to be set in, but no outline or
romantic interest … yet.)
2. Daily print outs of what you’ve written, so if you have
the urge to edit or make notes, it’s on the paper copy and not taking
away from your word count.
3. A master document that you paste your daily writing into.
Use a blank document each day to keep you from editing what’s already
written. Note: I got the idea for # 2 and 3 from the end of this article.
4. Hand-written notes each night on what’s next in the story
or what scenes you want to tackle next. This should help jumpstart the
writing each day. They’re hand-written so you don’t have to have them in
your document or keep switching between documents.
That’s it, that’s my plan, although I might add a 5th thing – Scrivner. They have a NaNo deal for Mac users and I’ve wanted to try it for a while. More info here -
Here are my previous NaNo stats in case you are interested:
2004 – I went in with a story idea I loved, but no outline
or real plot. The novel took a sharp turn into crazy land, but I got to
50k (despite starting late because I was getting ready for a portfolio
review – I think I did the whole thing in 2.5 weeks). I’ve tried to
rewrite this novel several times since then, but it’s so convoluted it
might not be salvageable … unless I can figure out a plot for it.
2005 – I have no idea what happened that year, but I didn’t
finish. No doubt I still didn’t have a plot and didn’t start on time due
to the portfolio review preparations. (My illustrator’s group has a
review every November – usually the second weekend. Getting ready can
really take away from writing time.) Then I skipped a few years.
2008 – I had an idea, I had a plan, and I started right away
(despite my portfolio review prep). However, then I had my review, and
an editor loved some illustrations and was interested in seeing the
graphic novel when I was done. So I switched novels for NaNo, and didn’t
finish. However, after months of trying to figure out what to do with
the graphic novel, I’m finally on track with it and the MC from last
year’s original NaNo novel is in my novel this year with a shiny new
plot (the one last year stunk).
So, you see, it’s not all bad. What started last year wasn’t ready to be written and could have a happy ending this year.
Here are some other resources and thoughts on NaNoWriMo that I’ve found:
There’s a NaNoWriMo YA contest. The first 250 words of your YA novel could win!
Writer Chuck Wendig’s take on the good and bad of NaNoWriMo.
Elissa Cruz has some brilliant (non-cheating) tricks for NaNoWriMo.
Write your novel on FastPencil.com & get a free copy of your book when you finish!
Happy NaNo noveling everyone!