November 13, 2013

Two Tricks for the NaNo People

Guys, this blogging regularly with a toddler in the house is HARD! That's okay because you're trying to get 50k words down by the end of the month so you're probably not reading blogs.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Enjoy your writing frenzy, whether it's this month, February, or every month of your life.

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