Well, it’s November 2nd and that means National Novel Writing month has already begun! Let’s check in on the start of my project and drop some tips for any of you participating as well.
- I’ve written around 1800 words each day so far.
- The story is staying on outline right now, which is good.
- I’m three chapters in right now. That means the chapters are sitting around 1000 words each, which is normal for me. But normally I write YA. These should have been a little longer. Either that, or I should’ve had more of them than I’m seeing on the outline right now. I’m not stressing about the length of the chapters right now, I’m just aware of it.
- I’ve managed to introduce my main character and set up the story pretty well. I have yet to introduce the antagonist, but that is lined up with the plan.
So, I’ve started off pretty strong this year. How am I doing that?
Here are some tips.
- Set aside a time to write. Write for that entire time. Word count will come. On November 1 I woke up early (6:30) and decided I was going to write until my family woke up. None of us have to work on Sundays so we don’t set alarm clocks. That meant I got over an hour of quiet writing time. I hit that 1,600 words and kept going because I had more time. Write for time-let the word count handle itself.
- Keep going. Stuck on a scene? Mark it and move on. The point of NaNoWriMo is to get a detailed 50,000 word road map written. You can always edit in December. I haven’t hit this yet in my NaNo project this year, but you can bet it happened last year. I had a page that literally read “Chapter 3: INTRODUCE SOME NEW CHARACTER THAT CAN SHOW US THE SPINE OF OUR MAIN CHARACTER. SHE’S GETTING WALKED ON BY KATE, WE NEED TO SEE SHE CAN HOLD HER OWN.” At the time, I didn’t know how I was going to do that. I just knew it needed to happen. I actually ended up writing that scene around the 21st of November when I solved the problem.
- Write important notes somewhere. Hair color, eye color, age, etc. Having to flip back later to find out if you made the character brunette or not may cost you writing time and may make you want to edit. My fast one for the Hitman project looks like this.
- Use that outline but don’t let it handicap you. An outline helps when you feel stuck because you’ve already thought of a path. But if the story is pulling you somewhere else – let it! The MagicalYA, which I drafted last year, decided to present me with a third storyline that would solve most of my problems with the draft just about the time I was finished with it. Fraun 4 went in a completely different direction than I’d imagined when a character I thought I’d write out decided to make themselves more important. Changes can make the writing stronger. Don’t fight it.
- Don’t be afraid to take two paths. Can’t decide which ending you like better? Create a separate document for each one and play them out. Then, in December, when this is all over … you can compare them.
Most importantly, remember this. There are no real “rules” to NaNo. You come up with an idea and you try to write the story.
Run into a specific problem you want advice on? Drop it in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.
Until then, happy writing!