Whelp! It’s that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month is fast approaching. For years I’ve been on the edge… this year, I’m gonna jump. You coming or what?
“But Emily,” you wail, “I can’t! It’s too hard. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I don’t know where to begin!”
Now that we’ve moved past this, here’s some tips to get you going. I’m going to do this. You’re going to do this. We’re going to rock it’s socks off.
- How long is your novel? Are you writing closer to 50k or 100k? The answer is going to help you determine pacing and how far you need to be come December 1st.
- Why haven’t you already written this? You have an idea, somewhere about this novel, and yet you haven’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it were.) What’s stopped you? What’s gotten you stuck or kept you from starting? For me, I’ve had a great premise, but the details of the plot were stalled. I needed better stakes, more personal stakes for anyone to give a crap about my protagonist.
- Time to make an outline. I know. It sucks. I hate it. I’m a pantser, outlines take the joy out of writing for me. Here’s the thing: you’re looking at hitting a daily word count of 1700 words, give or take. Now, when I actually sit down and write, this is an easy goal for me. Yet, when you want to hit that goal every day and have to deal with… I don’t know, life, you have no time to get stalled. See the previous tip. Now is the time to work out the kinks, and outlining is going to help you find them before November.
- You do, in fact, have the time. In regards to the previous point, some kind of beginning-to-end game plan is going to be your friend. Before writing this post, I sat down and did my outline. I worked on the flaws. I answered questions about motivations and background that I need to know so that I can write something that makes sense for my readers. And do you know how long that took me? Maybe an hour and a half max. I don’t have every chapter planned out. I don’t have the time or the inclination to do so, (plus when my characters start talking they just stomp all over everything anyway. Jerks.)
- Bring a buddy. Of course you’ll have me. But there are millions of other people going through the same struggle this November. Sign up at http://nanowrimo.org and add me as a buddy. We’re all in this together.
So there you go, let’s get started! Take this week to get a general idea of where you want to go with your November, and if you’re still stuck — FEAR NOT! Next week I’m doing a post about some of my favorite writing resources, just in time to fix stuff before November 1st. There will be both websites and books, but they’re all easily accessible and totally skim-throughable. Because honestly, I don’t want to read a book cover to cover about writing. I want to be writing.
**** Addendum! You have to go by usernames, not actual names. So when you want to add me as a buddy, search for writerreese!