Saturday, October 17, 2009

NaNo is coming!

October 31 at midnight, NaNoWriMo begins!

National Novel Writing Month is a time when people all over the world withdraw from life to crank out a 50,000 word novel in one month.

At first it seems insane and impossible. After doing it a few times, it's really not so bad! :-)

Everything you need to know about it is at the NaNoWriMo website.

I'll be posting prompts that are usable for Nano (or other writing) throughout the month. (If anyone wants to drop me a "Hi!"or add me as a buddy, I'm JFetteroll (so original, I'm always JFetteroll!) at the NaNo website.)

In the forums are online and face-to-face support. (Check out the regional boards to see if there are writing groups near you.) There are word wars (to see who can churn out the most words within a certain time) and prompts and people to help if you get stuck either emotionally, logically or factoidally.

And most people do get stuck around week 2, at the 15,000 word mark. Expect to hit that wall. At that point you've let your characters run rampant setting up their relationships and you suddenly realize you've written 15,000 words of crap and you've pushed the characters as far as you can go and alphabetizing your spices would be a much better use of your time. Every novelist hits that point. What separates the failed novelists from the successful ones is that the successful ones keep going. :-)

If you think you don't have time, I found this week's posting at the NaNo website inspiring :-) Cylithria Dubois -- what a great fantasy name! -- wrote her last novel while part of a forward observation team stationed in Iraq: Cylithria Dubois, Marine Corps novelist

Some tips:

 Don't worry about quality. Your goal is quantity not quality. Send your internal editor on vacation. This month there's no such thing as bad writing. (Or it's all bad! Whatever mindset keeps the words flowing for you.) Note: No one will read it. Bots at the website count your words to see if you've gotten at least 50,000.

 Don't worry about getting the beginning right. Jump into the middle of the story. Write the end first. Write the middle first. Doesn't matter!

 Don't worry about going in order. If you get stumped, or another scene is begging to be written, jump ahead. (As you find out more about your characters, you'll know how to fill those jumps in -- which might be after NaNo.)

 Don't worry about finishing the story. The goal is 50,000 words of a single work (eg, not a bunch of short stories). It doesn't have to be a complete novel. It's a way to get you started. (Novels are closer to 100,000 words, though it depends on the genre.)

You can plan as much or as little as you want, but no actual writing before November 1. Some people like an outline. Some people don't want to know where their characters are taking them. Whatever works for you.

Happy writing!

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