NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriNope?


To NaNo or Not?

NaNoWriMo time is almost here! Most of us have written about the decision to try it, and recorded our success or lack thereof in previous posts. Jamie did a post on her 2015 involvement this past weekend. Because of the New England Crime Bake (next weekend), I’ve always had trouble hitting the 50,000 word mark. Alright, who am I kidding? There are a lot of reasons I haven’t been able to get the badge. Maybe this time will be different–I have a deadline that could use the boost.

I should back up a bit, and explain NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It is when thousands of people buckle down, and try to hit the 50,000 word mark on a novel. For many, that is a first draft. For others, it is enough momentum to keep going and finish. As you know from reading this blog, a first draft is just the first step, but it is an important one.

If you are a plotter, and I am a plotter, you should do that work well ahead of November 1. You still have time to get that done before kick off. But whether plotter or pantser (you write by the seat of your pants), don’t forget the AND THEN rule. It helps you propel the story forward. Examples: Ruth has a meeting with Kim. AND THEN they have a fight. AND THEN Kim is found dead. AND THEN Ruth is brought in for questioning. Keep asking yourself the AND THEN question for your main story line, and your subplots.

The second rule of thumb for NaNoWriMo in my opinion? Keep on writing. No time to look back or second guess when you need to average 1666 words a day. When I am trying to get words done, I will use a bracket in the middle of a paragraph, and make myself a note for the next draft. [Find out more about the town] [Add research about rats here] [what was her mother’s name?] Or if I want to skip a part, I’ll type in [write more words]. I know, elegant, isn’t it? Transitions, word choices, detail, the weaving of subplots, all those come with the next draft. Or the next one. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a first draft, even a bad one.

Every year, I use NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to challenge myself. This year, it is to finish plotting book 3, get the scene cards into Scrivener(goal of the scene, people in it, and which story line it serves), and then start book 3 of my series. First draft goal is in January, but if I can get the foundation built by Sunday, who knows? NaNoWriMo is just the kick in my pants I need to get started.

Who’s in?

12 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriNope?

  1. Me! I’m in!! I failed miserably at my first NaNo last year. Didn’t reach 3,000 words, let alone 50,000! This year I have tons more ideas (maybe too many??) and a lot more determination too. Thanks for your tips. No doubt I’ll be using the square brackets more this time. 🙂 Oh, and just to pass on some advice I heard from another NaNo veteran: no hitting the back space or delete button – onwards and upwards all the way! Good luck! 🙂

  2. I am in! I write novel but its my first time for NaNo.Currently I am having ideas about three novels going in my mind and it is difficult to remember them all together so,I created a flowchart of the story. I’ll include NaNo in it. Best of luck to you:)

  3. I’m not in but that’s only because I know how much I can get done in a month when I’m pushing myself, and it’s not 50K. Having said that, it does sound fun so maybe next year..
    Best of luck to you and everyone else taking part! Maybe next year I’ll be one of you 🙂

  4. Julie,

    Thanks for writing this post, been meaning to mention it myself. I’m in, but like you and many others it’s because I have a work-in-progress and I’m hoping that NaNoWriMo’s motivation will help me to finish it.

    Of course that sweet, sweet badge at the end is also nice.


  5. Definitely a habitual pantser…I took last year off, but I think I’m going to give it another shot this year! It can feel pretty intense, but it’s fun, too. I definitely recommend using Write or Die ( if you have trouble with actually getting the words out; it’s a minimalist word-processor that incentivizes you to keep writing…or punishes you when you stop (my method of choice).

  6. Considering I’m already writing another novel it might be too much to handle at once. Then again…..doing the challenge may in fact help me come up with any ideas for my other projects. Guess I have a few more days to think it over.. .

  7. I’m a pantser when I should be a planner, I started this year on November 2nd at the last minute. Whenever I skip information I need to write later I do 3 asterisks like a to be continued

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