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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nanowrimo Advice by Janice Seagraves

Nanowrimo Advice
By Janice Seagraves

The Nanowrimo starts in about a week. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a contest to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, starting November 1 until November 30th. You can go to the website to sign up.

Congratulations for all those who entered. It’s going to be an extraordinary month.
On November first, a lot of you are going to want to start with a bang and push to get your word count up. It’s a good strategy to get your numbers high before the mid-novel slump (more on that later).

This will be my seventh year of doing the Nano, and I've won all of those years, and I have a few nifty tricks for gaining additional word count.

So here’s some advice from me:

Give yourself permission to write crap: We’re going for speed here, so writing crappy lines, and overwriting is not only okay, but necessary to succeed. Remember, while you’re working on your Nano story you’re basically writing a sloppy first draft.

Tell your interior editor to wait until November is over, and then you can edit to your heart’s desire.

Set the scene: this increases the word count and your characters aren't just standing around in a white space, saying their lines.

When setting the scene use all four senses:

Example: The surf roared as it rushed up onto the beach. Seagull screamed overhead. The smell of brine and seaweed filled her nose. Moist air blew the hair back from her face. Cold water lapped over her feet as wave after wave rushed past her toes, tumbling broken seashell across the sand. Fog waited just past the breakers, announcing it was going to be another gloomy night.

During the mid-novel slump, and yes you will have one we all do, go over your story.

I know, I know I told you not to revise or editor now. However, when you go over your nano story you can add additional details to your scenes, adding to the word count, which should get you going again.

Example: When he stared into her green eyes, he found himself wanting to kiss her.

Change to: when he stared into her sea green eyes, he noticed flecks of gold surrounded the iris.  He realized he could easily get lost in her gaze, and he very badly wanted to kiss her. 

Another way to get past the mid-novel slump is to plan for the first great reveal or sex scene in the middle of your story.

Good luck with the Nano. May you all be winners.


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Tina Donahue said...

Good luck to you, Janice - and most of all, have fun. :)

Paris said...

Thanks for all of the wonderful advice. I like the idea of getting everything down without going back and polishing until the book is finished. Do you map out a general plan or outline for specific scenes before you begin or do just start out with the idea for the book?

jean hart stewart said...

Excellent advice even if you aren't in the contest. I definitely tend to overcorrect before moving on. Must remember to keep going instead of agonizing over the details too soon...

Cara Marsi said...

I agree this is excellent advice even for those not entering the contest. I've never done this contest, but I did try something similar once. I got myself so bogged down and wrote the worst crap ever that I gave up.

Good luck to you.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Tina,

Thank you.

Hi Paris,

No, I don't plan. I usually have a vague idea of what I'd like to write and then just start writing.

Hi Jean,

Thank you. And polishing before you are done can stop you from finishing.

Hi Cara,

When doing the Nano, it is the utmost importance to give yourself permission to write crap.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Janice, great tips! Thanks for sharing. :)

Sandy said...

I have so many friends who enter NaNo that I would love to try it. I never because the holidays start that month. lol Good for you, Janice.

LKF said...

Hey Janice. I am going to do NaNo again. I finished my first book last year and want to finish my second this year. Good luck, I will be cheering you on. : )

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Kitty,

Thank you.

Hi Sandy,

It can be a little tricky getting your writing time around getting things ready for Thanksgiving, but it is doable.

Hi Lynda,

That's great. Make sure you post your word count so I can cheer you on. :)

Good luck to you too.


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