wildfillysama: Further writing tips

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

 

wildfillysama: Nanowrimo next week

It’s that time of year again! Yet another round of trying to write a novel, or at least a novel-sized load of “words”, for lack of a more flattering description, in one month.

My first Nanowrimo attempt took place in 2006. I failed miserably.

My second and third Nanowrimo attempts took place in 2012 and 2013. Both were victorious. I’m hoping to repeat the experience again, but to actually have publishable results. Thankfully, the last few years have generated several handy techniques for getting the word count and the contents up to standard (mostly). Here are a few things I’ve found handy:

1. Have a plan. Plain and simple. Know what you want to write about, for how many words, and in what order. Set yourself a number of words to write per day, and also set yourself some days off, to prevent brain haemorrhaging.

2. Have a word challenge for each writing day. Don’t expect plot points to show up on time for work each day. While you’re making your plan, also make an event/word cloud for each week. Write yourself some prompts. For example: unusual words to include in descriptions; characters to argue about something in a long dialogue spiel; a monologue about the harshness of poptarts; a sudden diary entry from one of the characters…

3. Stay off the Nanowrimo facebook groups. Everyone on there is there for one reason: procrastination. Don’t join them.

4. Don’t ask for feedback. You’ll end up waiting until after Nanowrimo is over for good feedback to return to you, in which case you’ll have run out of time. Crush all insecurities. Forge on ahead and blindly write. Yes, it will probably be crap, but there will be one or two things in there that you can keep. It’s more important at this stage to get the momentum up than it is to get the technique refined. Refinement can come afterwards. Learn how to self-motivate and keep a story going first.

5. Think about the next step. Do you want to publish with a commercial publisher? Do you want to self-publish? Do you want to email the story around a group of friends? Bury it in a hole and never look upon it again? Have a goal in mind, the whole time you’re working on the story. It needs a future. You’re giving life to a story (for better or worse), so you should treat it with respect. Give it the time and space that it deserves, and later, when you’ve got time to reflect, give it the kick up the backside it may need to get where you want it to go.

 

Next week, I’m going to start writing, and I hope you are too. Will be returning here on 3rd November to rant about it…. good luck! If you want to be friends on Nanowrimo, my profile is here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/wildfillysama

 

 

wildfillysama: Many forms of procrastination

As a side note, here is where I am currently procrastinating:

IMG_2006(Don’t go into the tower. It’s full of asbestos.)

 

There has been progress (of a sort) on the fiction writing side! Not in the writing-of-fiction sense of the word, just the logistics-of-fiction sense of the word.

I’ve decided to half (double?) my creative writing workload and turn my two fantasy-ish plots into one series.

Mostly this has been done because I was losing interest in one, but didn’t want to let all the work that had already been completed go to waste. I’m clingy like that. So, I’m now going to cross over EVERYTHING. And somehow make it all make sense (which, in fairness, was a problem that I was having anyway). Now, at least, everything will be worked on at once, so they stand a chance of being completed rather than surreptitiously brushed aside in favour of anything else. At the moment, my plan is to get all the groundwork sorted out in time for NaNoWriMo, including re-homing all the bits that have already been written, during which I will then commit to getting all the other stuff written out.

It feels like progress, I guess?

So, by next week’s post I need to report back on how it’s all looking (alternatively, how much cider I’ve consumed in the name of making this work/not work).

 

Other plans: There’s a convention happening on the 30th August!

Since there is a lot of doubt/fan debate/outright confusion over what the characters from “Welcome to Night Vale” look like, I think I’m going to seize this opportunity to cosplay as one. May have to request a visiting Alpha Nerd to bring me a wig, but otherwise the hardest part of the intended cosplay will just be drawing all over my arms first thing in the morning.

 

Further plans: I should really do some work… Signing off from amongst the stacks!

IMG_0942(Follow the light… it leads to the coffee shop).