NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I'm getting excited as I have for five years in a row.
Are you willing to ignore your family, forget socialising, eat chocolate instead of regular meals, put aside showering, do without sleep, up the coffee intake? In that case, consider joining the thousands of masochists who do all of these in the pursuit of 50,000 crappy words of a first-draft novel in 30 days.
Thirty-seven thousand masochists wrote a novel in 2012. Of course, first drafts need a LOT of work -- editing, feedback, professional editing, and so on before the manuscript is ready for submission, but anyone who finishes a novel has achieved something amazing.
In case you're a NaNo newbie, here's how NaNoWriMo works:
1. Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30 (in your time zone).
2. Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works). You really need to have your story idea, some sort of outline before November 1st, or you will have a nearly impossible task ahead of you.
3. Write a novel. A novel is a lengthy work of fiction. 50,000 words is a small novel. Nothing stopping you writing the next 30,000 words or so when NaNo finishes.
4. Be the sole author of your novel.
5. Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times. Sure, some non-masochists cheat, but who are you kidding? What's the point in writing 'nada' 50,000 times. I don't want to read that novel, do you?
6. Upload your novel for word-count validation between November 25 and November 30. [Time zone specific].
Daily Word Count
50,000 words sounds like a lot. And it is! But you've got 30 days to finish, so here's how the word count breaks down:
Write every day:
50,000/30 = 1,667 words per day
Take one day off a week:
50,000/26 = 1,923 words per day
Two days off a week:
50,000/22 = 2,273 words per day
I try to write well over the daily word limit, so if something comes up I can't avoid, I don't panic.
Sign up - how?
It's easy, and free, to get involved. Just head on over to the official NaNoWriMo website and sign up. You can work alone, but the site can put you in contact with NaNo-ers in your area. There's often a welcome BBQ and regular write fests in a coffee shop near you (in Brisbane, anyway). Or you can buddy up with fellow masochists just like you and message each other instead of breaking the computer, the wall or your sizzling brain.
Preparing For NaNoWriMo.
NaNo groupies have their own methods for preparation. After 5 years of participation, this is what works for me.
1. Write as many words as you can daily on a regular basis, all year round, so that when November comes around, as it does with great regularity (lol) you find getting 2,000 words on the page easy bikkies.
Regular blogging counts--it is writing, you know. Write flash fiction, short stories, guest blog posts, magazine or newspaper articles. Whatever floats your boat. That's why I've hosted a writing meme for over 2 years (Sign up here!). Many of my flash fiction stories have been extended, polished and submitted/published in women's fiction magazines. Cool.
2. Work on the structure of your story
You're allowed to outline your story before November 1st and I think it's a fabulous idea. Here are a few links with thanks to Karen Woodward:
The structure of a story
Orson Scott Card & The MICE Quotient: How To Structure Your Story
Short Story Structures: Several Ways Of Structuring Short Fiction
How Plotting Can Build A Better Story
How To Write A Story
Chuck Wendig On Story Structure
The Basics of Good Storycraft: 5 Tips
A Perfect Plot In 6 Easy Steps
Chuck Wendig on Plot, Complication, Conflict and Consequence
The structure of a scene within a story
Making A Scene: Using Conflicts and Setbacks to Create Narrative Drive
Kim Harrison's Character Grid
4 Ways Outlining Can Give A Writer Confidence
3. Prepare meals in advance if you want to eat anything other than junk food.
4. Find a place to write
Coffee shop? In the middle of the family's hustle and bustle? Hidden away in your home office, or reclining beside the pool or at the beach or on a resort balcony or in the cool, crisp mountains?
Do whatever works for you.
5. Tell your friends and family you're going to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
Maybe then they'll understand your zombie status and the glazed look in your eyes when they're speaking to you. All you'll be able to think of is what your protagonist is going to do next.
Are you up for NaNo this year? How prepared are you?
- Don't forget to sign up for some writing practice pre-NaNo. You can sign up for the WEP blogfest right here in my sidebar.
- I'm still on holidays in North Queensland. Having a great time. Here's another photo for you if you didn't catch it on fb.
|The Strand along the waterfront in Townsville with Magnetic Island in the background.|