Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo Tips


It's that time of the year again.  The time when authors enter National November Writing Month, challenging themselves to write a 50k word novel in 1 month! Is it possible?  Of course!  Are you going to go crazy doing so?  Likely.  Yet, it's a fun challenge and I have a few tips to help you out. 

  • Increase your food budget for the month
Most authors already know that they are not going to cook dinner.  No... It's just not going to happen. You need more time to write, so plan ahead because you and your family will be ordering take-out a lot!  

Now the serious tips... 
  • Setting Goals!
Most nano writers set their goal at 1,666 words a day.  That gives them 50k words for the month.  The problem with that is that you are not counting on those days when you just don't feel like writing.  There is also the fact that you'll likely be much more motivated... and less tired, during the first part of the month.  And you are less likely to run into writing obstables during the beginning of your story.  Set higher goals for the beginning.  Maybe 3k words a day?  You can do it! 
  • Write a general outline before you start.  
Just point out the main events in your story and while writing, don't be afraid to change your outline.
  • Character Development
Knowing your characters before you start writing the story is by far what will help you the most in finishing your first draft in 30 days.  Once you really know them, it all becomes a matter of how they react to the situations that you are putting them in.  
I usually get to know my characters by doing a character profile including personality traits, and I go as far as doing a Q&A with my characters.  Ask them questions about who they are, where they came from, what makes them mad, what are they afraid of, what attracts them in a person...
Give your characters flaws and don't be afraid to let them make stupid mistakes.  No character should be perfect all the time.  Flaws make them interesting and adds to their personality.
  • Write everyday!
Even if you just plan on writing for 5 minutes, write everyday!  There were so many times when I thought I was not in the mood and as soon as I got in front of the computer and started typing, things just came to me.
  • Don't be afraid to write out of order.
If you have a specific scene in mind, write it... even if you have to skip and few chapters and then go back and fill in.
  • NEVER stop to edit while writing your first draft.
I know how tough it's not to do this, but editing while writing your first draft is time consuming and a distraction that you cannot afford when writing a novel in 30 days.  If you think of changes that you want done while writing your first draft, just take notes on what those changes are and where they should go.  The ideal time to implement those changes is while working on your first round of revisions.

Happy Writing! 

2 comments:

  1. And after spending all that time figuring out your character and plot, what do you do when it strikes midnight, Nano starts, and suddenly your brain refuses to work with what you've got?

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  2. Here is what usually works for me:

    I have a writing soundtrack with songs that make me think of the story and/or characters. I literally sit in front of the computer, turn the music on, and start typing. Keep in mind that this is the first draft... just write random things about the story, even if you don't think you'll use that part later on. There were so many times when I thought my brain was just going to refuse to work and as soon as I started typing, I was surprised.

    IF this doesn't work, I usually do something to clear my head and start thinking about the characters. Believe it or not, to me, that is mowing the lawn. lol

    Finally, if all else fails, read! Reading inspires. :)

    I hope this helps. :)

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