~ By Shelly Bell
Last November, I participated in my first National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days or 1,667 per day. For many, this may sound daunting, especially for those who are at the beginning of their writing career and for those who’ve had a difficult time completing a book. But I highly recommend it.
Here are some tips for “winning” this year’s Nano
- Advanced plotting: Even if you’re a panster, become a plotter for NaNoWriMo. In October, start thinking about the project, characters, setting, and main conflicts and then in the last week of the month, outline. I like to write a synopsis and break it down by chapter, including POV and setting. I also include the character’s goal, motivation, and conflict, as well as the details of how that character doesn’t achieve her goal or makes the situation worse. You could also use a beat sheet
- Schedule it: Schedule your writing time into your calendar and commit to it.
- No rules: Don’t worry about info dumping. Write, write, write. I always info dump in my first draft. Later, I take it out and add bits and pieces back into the story if it’s necessary. Don’t think about grammar. Just vomit those words!
- No editing: Don’t correct your mistakes or try to come up with the perfect word. The time for editing is December. Get your first draft done.
- Skip it: Can’t remember a name or what color your hero’s eyes are? Skip it. I use a ____ so I know to come back to it later.
- Read the previous few pages: Before you start writing for the day, review the previous pages to get you back in the zone.
- Support: Join a group on NaNoWriMo, Savvy Authors, or make a pact with some of your closest writing friends. Meet for coffee a couple times a week.
- Accountability: Post your numbers every day, even if you fail to make your target. It’s kind of like the scale. You can’t deny a number staring you in the face.
- Daily Reward: Don’t watch your favorite show or read a book until those words are done. Then you can celebrate!
- Have fun: If you end up in tears or with carpal tunnel, it’s just not worth it, write as much as you like and make it as sexy and hot as you like, some people like to write it as if it were an m porn movie, but it’s completely up to you how far you want to take it.
This is for you and you alone. It’s a personal goal, but just because its hard work, doesn’t mean you should be miserable. Treat it like a game and enjoy yourself! I’m doing it again this year and I’d love some company. For more information, visit www.nanowrimo.org.
Have a wonderful rest of October and a spooky Halloween!
Shelly Bell is the author of contemporary romance and erotic contemporary romance filled with sexy, passionate heroes and sassy, intelligent heroines. She’s also a corporate attorney, but she’s looking for a twelve-step group to help her with that.