Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 25: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Hello everybody! Many of you have been powering your way through NaNoWriMo like I have, and at this point you're close to the end (one way or another). The NaNoWriMo site started accepting word count validations last Thursday, and while I wasn't there yet I think I'll be able to finish my draft in plenty of time.

Some of you might not be so lucky. Some of you might see the craziness of Thanksgiving and Black Friday coming up and wonder when the heck you'll have time to finish. Some of you might see how far you have to go yet and want to give up.


Even if the task seems daunting, do whatever it takes to give yourself the will to push through this last week. Bang out as many words as you possibly can! Remember, NaNo isn't about writing a perfect novel in a month, but just as 50,000 word rough draft in a month. Even if you think that what you have is a giant flaming mess, console yourself with a plan to revise and edit later.

Heck, this month I seem to have entirely lost my ability to spell for the sake of sheer word count. I plan to pass my draft through a spell-check program before I try to validate it so that I know that the NaNo software won't just skip over the horribly mangled words that it doesn't recognize. I'll still give it an actual eyeball check as well, though, so that words that are misspelled so that they become other words don't slip in. But that will come later.

For night now, I plan to focus on the goal that as of this writing is just over 5k words away. I'm sprinting towards the climax like a crazy person, and I know that I'll be done before I know it.

You might be, too. Just keep at it. In the end, the actual word count isn't the important part, but rather you writing that rough draft and getting it out of your head.

Happy End of NaNo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Day 18: The End is in Sight

I'm on Week Three of NaNoWriMo, and I think it will be all downhill from here. Not as far as the quality of my writing goes (though with a rough draft it's hard to tell) but as far as how hard the slog will be. I'm past the midway point (yay!) and at last check I was at 30k words (yay!) so it looks like I'm going to finish this thing for NaNo (yay!).

It will be easy at this point for me to get lost in the plot threats I've started weaving together, like a kitten with a ball of yarn, but I don't think that will be a problem for me. For one, I haven't even started to bury myself in subplots, and for another, I've got a great support group that I can use to bounce ideas off of and comb out any problem spots.

Of course tying everything together in the climax is going to be interesting, considering the foundation I've laid out, but as long as I keep getting those words out I should be fine, and any plot holes can be filled in with my rewrite (and yes, I'm already planning on rewriting this thing because it's deep in the Hemingway Zone.

For now, though, I'm just going to keep pushing forward. 20k more words doesn't seem like that many considering what I've done so far, and the path ahead is wide open.  Banzai!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 11

Today marks Day 11 of NaNoWriMo 2014, and as we plow (or slog, as the case may be) through Week Two, many of us writers may be starting to lose momentum. Some of you might be having doubts about how good your story really is. You might be getting buried in subplots or research opportunities. You might be ready to set this beast aside for another day.


The Week Two Wall might be looming large in front of you, mocking you for your foolish plans to write a rough draft in a month. This is not the place to give up. Rather, this is where you give your main character a swift kick in the butt. Throw a plot point at him that throws all his preconceived notions down the stairs. Shock him into doing something that furthers the plot, and watch him rocket back out of the gate. Even if it seems as stupid and random as him finding an assassin hiding in his coat closet, that's an action point (you can figure out why the assassin was hiding in the coat closet later) and you can build on that.

In my case, I felt my momentum flagging, so I took a backstory point from one of my side characters and twisted into a plot element in the current narrative. Now my heroine is shocked and shaken and out of her element and a major part of her emotional support system (which is sparse enough to start with) is going to be sidelined for a while.

Remember that kicking the legs out from under your protagonist isn't going to kill them. If anything, they will come out on the other side stronger than ever before and even more ready to face the challenge of the day/week/month/whatever, especially if said plot point involves said threat going after your hero's loved ones. One laser-guided hero missile, coming right up.

So if you find yourself losing steam, have something blindside your protagonist and worry about making it less random during rewrites. It will give both you and your hero something new to do, and it will keep your novel from stagnating.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 4

Today is Day 4 of my first serious attempt at NaNoWriMo, and so far things are going fantastic. My word count is well above par for this far in, even though I had a minor slowdown yesterday due to my persistent need to buy food and pay my bills, but I'm still plugging away at it and I need no reason to give up just yet.

I mean, it's only Day 4 out of 30. Giving up now would just be bailing.

I'm still pretty excited about this whole thing. I've joined the NaNo community, collected a bunch of writing buddies, and I've been bouncing ideas off the forums and getting help with things like research, as well as sharing a good laugh about our speed0induced typoes.

The goal of NaNoWriMo, of course, is not to write a perfect novel in 30 days. That would be so close to impossible that it's barely worth considering. When you're going for speed, certain sacrifices will need to be made, like your ability to spell, airtight plotting, and frustrated ramblings at your apparent inability to make things up on the fly.

And that's okay.

Not only is this my first NaNo, but it's my first real foray into YA literature, so that's an interesting switch from my usual target age group. I find myself having to remember what it was like to be a teenager, and to accept and embrace the fact that as a seventeen-year-old girl, my main character and many of her peers are going to be gigantic drama queens.

And that's also okay.

At this point, while I'm not quite writing by the seat of my pants (as is my usual strategy) I still have a handful of major plot points to map out, but I still have most of the month to get that done. This is not the time for panic just yet.

For the rest of you also doing the NaNo thing, keep it up! I'm right here with you!

How far am I towards my goal? Check it out!