Monday, October 28, 2013

NoNoWriMo Success Tip for the Desperate

We are in the final countdown to NaNoWriMo. If you don't have your story mapped out in a 25,000 word detailed outline--it's probably too late now. Never fear! I'm going to give you a trick on how to succeed at NaNo anyway.

Daily Five Minute Plotting
As you sit down to begin your daily writing session, take a minimum of five minutes to jot down the basics of whatever needs to come next. Maybe it's a new scene, or some dialogue, or some character development, whatever. Just brain storm and let your creative juices flow.

Use at least five minutes, but you can keep going longer if you're on a roll. This exercise gives you enough direction to make decent progress until your next writing session. It doesn't matter if you end up using what you brainstormed or if your story veers in another direction. Either way, it will help you get going and make better use of your time in the long run.

I'm a pantser. I mean yes, I have a very basic outline (in my head) with the beginning and end and a few pivotal scenes. I know my characters and their ultimate goals and their character arc, but that's about it.

Taking the time at the beginning of each writing session to analyze where I am in the story and what needs to come next really helps me get going.

Good luck NaNoers!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NaNoWriMo--An Exercise in Demon Fighting

NaNoWriMo may not be for everyone, but personally, I love it. All my published novels are the result of NaNoWriMo disasters.

It's one long month of painful, obsessive, and horrific writing. But in the end, I've got more than just the backbone of a story, I've got a whole manuscript. Then I spend the next year revising and sending it through my crit croup.

Writing a manuscript so quickly allows me to keep the characters consistent and the story more cohesive. It's like total story immersion.

It's an exercise in creativity. You sit. You write. You don't go back and delete. You wear a silver cross and garlic strands to keep that editing demon at bay. Revision comes later--after you've vomited your story onto the page in such a jumbled mess that it looks like this:

or this:
or even this:

Just keep that pinky off the delete key. If you write something you KNOW you won't keep, use strikethrough. You never know. I've changed my mind later, in January or even June, and kept whole paragraphs that I'd blocked out with strikethrough.

NaNo is about word count. So keep all the words because they count. No one else will see the disaster that is unfolding on your computer screen, so don't worry about perfection. Just get the words out however you can. 

If you don't know what to write next, keep extending the scene you're in. Eventually your mind will catch up with your fingers and transition to the next scene. Sure you've got a page of extremely boring conversation at a restaurant where they debate the merits of Mary Ann versus Ginger. That's what the delete key is for, AFTER you finish NaNo. 

Then, after lots of tender loving care and nursing your story back to health, you get something that looks like this:

or this:
or best of all, this!:

If you haven't tried it--or if you tried but failed for whatever reason--try again. It's oh so hard, but in the end worth it. 

If you do NaNo this year, find me there and we can be buddys!