But if you are participating in NaNo AND reading this (how do you do it?), tell me your writing-fast secrets. How do you approach the annual 50k-words-in-a-month-contest? Do you have a set time you write every day? Do you squeeze in a few sentences between errands all day long, sort of like how some people get their daily exercise by wearing a pedometer and squeezing in a few extra steps here and there? Do you outline? Do you dive in? How's it going for you?
I don't participate because I'm a little crazy about holidays starting around Halloween extending through New Year. I even invented "WinterFest" at my house for the month of January last year because I wasn't ready to be done celebrating. Therefore I think the NaNo people picked the wrong month. I sometimes have my own personal word-count contest in February or March, and you're all welcome to join me then if you like.
But anyway. If I were participating in NaNo, my approach would be the same two tricks I always use when I'm trying to figure out a plot before I invest too much in it.
- I don't outline---I have the character tell me in short letter-like chapters her story. Then by the time I find out how it ends, I have about 30 pages for the whole novel and can decide if I want to go back and write scenes or scrap it.
- I write in present tense. It weirds me out to have a character telling me her story as if she already knows the whole thing when I don't know it yet. On my first novel I went back and changed it to past tense when I was all finished because it wasn't the kind of plot that worked well in present, but I couldn't get the words on the page any other way.