Tuesday 6 November 2012

NaNoWrMo 2013 - Some (hopefully) Helpful Tips!

This is my third year taking part in NaNoWriMo. The first year was hard, with lots of complaining on my part and vows never to do this thing again. The result was a woman's fiction novel with a difference, which is still sitting unedited and untouched on my laptop. Year two was much better. I wrote the vast majority of the third book in my Serenity series, Captured. That book was finished, edited and published by March the following year and has now sold several thousand copies! Happy days!

This year, I've been looking forward to getting started since the summer! I've had my novel planned (at least the first few chapters - I don't plan out whole storylines as I don't like the ruin the surprise). It's the start of what I hope will be another five book series and is coming along great. I have to be honest though, if I didn't have the writing experience I have, I would probably still be in the swearing, cursing, vows to never do this again, early days.

So here are some of my tips to keep that word count going:

  • Set aside time each day. If you normally watch tv in the evening, switch off the box and spend that hour writing instead. Working a day job? Take a notepad to work and scribble in your lunch hour.
  • Plan at least a chapter ahead so you know where you need to go when you sit down for your writing time.
  • Don't think too far ahead or you will get overwhelmed. Break the challenge down into measurable chunks. Remember this is not a race. The people who have written 20K in the first three days may end up blocked and struggling by the end. Slow and steady will get you to the end!
  • Break down the words you need to get. 500 words during the day, and just over a 1000 in the evening will mean you'll hit your goal.
  • Get involved in some word wars. Focus, uninterrupted, for twenty minutes at a time.and see how many words you can write. I can generally manage around 500 in that twenty minute period which means I can pretty much get my word count in an hour.
  • If you start to get stuck, jump ahead and write a scene which is playing in your head, or that you really want to write -- a great conversation between your characters, a revelation in your plot, or a seriously spicy sex scene!
  • Again, if you're blocked, switch mediums or locations. If I loose track of where I'm going with a story, a piece of paper and a pen will often see me through. I create spider charts with all the different characters and elements and try to see where the story is heading.
  • And if you're REALLY stuck, kill off a character. That will always give you something to write about, even if it doesn't happen until later in the book!
I hope that helps somewhat. And remember that it doesn't matter if you fall behind early on. There is plenty of time to catch up!

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