As the title of this blog post suggests, I plan to have an unusual strategy for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or just NaNo), which commences on November 1. The typical NaNo goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s about 1,667 words per day. I am taking a different approach this year and working on the words I got on the page last year and trying to incorporate them into the overall manuscript.
I started with a skeletal story of about 40,000 words that was my master’s thesis. Then last November wrote 50,000 more words to flesh it out. I wrote the first 40k in a coherent order and the NaNo 50k in random scenes. Right after NaNo ended, I made excellent progress on inserting scenes where they should go and re-figuring the plot to make some other stuff fit. In working so diligently through November and probably through about January/February, I made great headway.
And then Life interrupted. As I’m sure at least one or two of you have experienced that, I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say work stalled and then I got so far out of the story that I could never get myself motivated to get back into it. I’m going to use NaNo to hopefully get back in my story. Continue reading
Specifically, writing for NaNoWriMo. And I have discovered a couple of things while using NaNo to get back into the habit of daily writing. The biggest discovery is that I can’t do it without changing my routine. I have had some very successful writing days, which for me is about 3,500 words, but every one of those days this month have either started at 4 a.m. or the family is scattered so I don’t have to bother with dinner. I’m not a fan of getting up at 4 a.m., but I work full-time and exercise (and make dinner most nights) so there’s not a lot of free time in my day.
I was on a writing roll on Sunday morning. I got up early. Not at 4 a.m., but around 6 a.m. and everyone was still sleeping so I wrote about 1,700 words and planned to get back to it in the afternoon. But there was the planned 6-mile hike with my cousin, a trip to the grocery store, football which I combined with prepping some Thanksgiving side dishes, then dinner prep, dinner, and clean up. And THEN I could sit down again to write. The roll had turned into a lump and I struggled to put a couple hundred more words on the page, but was too tired to do much more than that.
Let me get back to my successful days. Continue reading
Like Elizabeth, I’m NaNo-ing this month. I generally try to do it every year. My best was 35,000 words. I haven’t been very successful as yet this year as I’m only about halfway on my word count. But that’s okay because I have reconnected with my WIP and have some great ideas, and scenes, for my next story. Continue reading
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
November is National Novel Writing Month. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.” It starts on November 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in that timeframe. I’ve tried it before and was almost successful once.
So how does it work? The NaNo-er signs up and completes a profile, decides what to write, selects a “home region” (used for stats on the website and offers the potential to meet with others in your area for writing time or inspiration), and starts writing on November 1. During the month, stay tuned to the NaNo website to upload word count and check on others’ progress. Continue reading
Cue the trumpets, toss the confetti, and raise your glass, it’s time to celebrate the rapidly approaching end of NaNo.
About an hour ago I typed my two favorite words – “The End” – and uploaded my final word count and manuscript for validation. As a NaNo “winner”, I have the lovely graphic you see over to the left and a 50,007 word manuscript that can best be described as “a big hot mess.”
My NaNo got off to a slow start this year (I may have slept through a few writing sessions), and there have been a few days with less than stellar word counts, but being off work last week gave me a chance to really focus on writing and get a large number of words on the page that can probably best be described as “quantity” rather than “quality.” There are most certainly plot holes you could drive a truck through, and it’s littered with notes like “something needs to happen here,” but the draft is done.
Once the excitement of finishing the draft cools, it’s time to think about what to do next. Continue reading
As November continues its rapid race toward December, NaNo has finished its third week, which means there are many new stories out there at about the 35,000+ word mark.
That’s awesome! It also means that there are only about 15,000 more words to go to reach the magic 50,000 end-of-month goal.
I love this part in the process (when I haven’t spent the last week or so staring at a blank screen). After the excitement of the first week and the slowdown of the second, there tends to be a marked change in my writing once I’ve gotten over that 30,000 word point. After that, for better or worse, the story seems to gain momentum and race forward on its own.
The first act of my story ended at around 28,000 words, so I won’t have a completed book at the 50,000 word mark, and what I will have is going to need some definite work (seriously, you can probably see the plot-holes from space), but I’ll have made a real start at getting this story out of my head and on to the page, so that’s a good thing. Continue reading
Another Friday; how did that happen?
Alert readers of the blog may have noticed that there was no Writing Sprint post last Friday. I’d love to say that was all part of a plan, but the reality is that I was so busy with my daily NaNo words last week that I completely lost track of the days. I just barely caught on when I went to publish the Friday post and saw that it was actually Saturday. <facepalm>
On the plus side, I wrote a lot of new words last week and now I have a spare post for some time in the future. Always a bright side.
For this month, since many folks are head’s down on their NaNo stories and might not need the extra motivation of a group of random words to spark their creativity, we’re going to change things up a little.
You can either: Continue reading
National Novel Writing Month kicked off just a week ago and, according to the handy graphic on the NaNo website, writers in nearby San Francisco have already written over 4.5 million words.
Multiply that by all the participating writers in all the participating cities around the world and that’s an amazing amount of writing and an amazing number of stories that didn’t even exist a mere week ago.
I’d love to say that my own NaNo experience was off to a stellar start this year, but that would be an extreme work of fiction, and not the good kind.
In reality, as you might guess from the graphic in this post, my NaNo got off to a rather slow start. Three days of long hours at the day job coupled with at least one evening when I fell asleep in the midst of dinner made hitting the daily 1,667 word count a dream rather than a reality. Continue reading
October is racing to an end, which means there is only 1 week left before the start of this year’s NaNoWriMo. Michille had a good post the other day about preparing to write and the NaNo website is full all sorts of good information, like the NaNo Prep Webcast.
Part of my prep-work has included finishing up a host of non-writing projects so they aren’t hanging overhead when I’m trying to write. I’m also wrapping up a big multi-year project at the Day Job, which should free up some much needed brain-cells. I will definitely need those to hit my daily writing goals. All that is left, other than those pesky story details, is to decide when to write and to stock up on motivational “reward-for-hitting-today’s-goal” treats. I have found that cupcakes are excellent in that role.
As I’ve mentioned that last few weeks, my writing specific preparation has included drafting a rough outline for my new story, figuring out the setting(s), and getting to know my characters.
That’s all I need to craft a great story, right?
Oh wait, those characters probably need some goals and motivations so they actually have something to do.
Guess that means this is a good time to focus on: Conflict Continue reading
Piggyback. Yesterday, Elizabeth posted about her focus for NaNo. I’m not planning to do it this year, unless it can be stretched to editing 50,000 words, instead of writing them. But I am reminded of planning that I have done in the past to prep for it.
One of my favorite writing blogs, Writers Write, posted an organizer that led to a brainstorming worksheet and 30 tips (with lots of links for other helps). From the Writers Write blog, I found some resources that are on the NaNo website. Like the Reference Desk. I never knew it was there. Rather than spending time noodling around on the internet doing research, post a question on the reference desk and another writer might have the answer. Want to know how to rig a 500 gallon propane tank for explosion? Need information on growing up in a Turkish Cypriot family in London? Need to know how to milk a cat (really?)? Post your research question and get an answer (maybe – no one seems to know how to milk a cat). Continue reading