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.