Nanowrimo starts this Saturday. Does everyone have their combination of excitement and dread happening? Good!
To match up with last week’s post, here are some more bits of advice for how to get the most out of your Nanowrimo experience, and hopefully to also churn out something that passes for a novel.
1. Treat it like a job. That means setting yourself a particular time, with itemised tasks, and working until you meet a certain deadline or completion point. Don’t forget breaks, but don’t take too many of them, or you’ll ruin the effect.
2. Don’t aim for perfection first time. Write out the bare, ugly bones of what you want, and quickly move on. Make a massive list of dot-points, if it comes to it. As you write more dot-points, the words will start to flow. Go back to each dot-point and add a sentence of clarification. Then another. Then another…
3. Minimise distractions. Some people love to write in front of an open window, or with music playing, or all kinds of things like that. Personally, I’m not one of them. I like to have a cone of solitude, and if music is on, it’s on the lowest possible setting. Gauge what position your writing is at before giving yourself distractions. If you’re completely into the swing of typing, then music is fine, but if not, keep it quiet.
4. Play with your writing style. Getting bogged down? Take a break while still writing by shifting ahead or back in the story, and writing in a different way. For example, add more dialogue, insert a descriptive scene, add a funny encounter, or introduce a new character. Or, if you’re really stuck, go back and embellish what you already have (DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING JUST YET): add small, emphatic sentences to longer ones.
5. Write about something you know and are passionate about. Researching new professions/skills to match up with a character is admirable, but also takes time and can be a bit daunting when you’re starting out. In the meantime, write about things you personally know a lot about and can easily add to the flow of your story. Passion for a subject comes through very strongly in your writing, and can add a lot to the reader’s experience.
Also, keep reading. Writing can’t happen in a vacuum.
Join up for Nanowrimo here, good luck! : http://nanowrimo.org