NaNoWriMo For Newbies – Part Five, Reaching 50,000

unrelated awesome picture

unrelated awesome picture

Alright, this is the final installment in the NaNoWriMo for newbies. I’ve been scanning the forums for tips and tricks to reach 50,000 words, and I’ve picked out the best ones, not that I don’t have my own tips to share.

Don’t despair at the quality of your writing. Critics points out that NaNoWriMo does nothing but force writers to churn out shit that will never make it to the final draft, but that isn’t true. NaNoWriMo forces me to write when I would rather sit and watch TV or avoid writing a difficult scene. I have to keep thinking about how the story progresses, and I have to finish it (or get within the last few chapters). Once it’s done, I have all the scenes and character development, or lack thereof. I can see what the story needs and start editing it to make it actually readable. It’s worth the stress just to be able to make it that far.

Don’t edit. At all. Unless it’s going to add to your word count. Decide that you want to change your MC’s uncle’s name? Don’t go back, just make a note of it and keep writing. Decide that you want to hint at a hidden door in your FMC’s walk-in closet? Go ahead and add a paragraph about it in chapter two, then come right back to the end point and keep writing. Typos and grammatical errors will be easy to catch when reading back through, you don’t have to worry about it. It’ll be fine.

Don’t be afraid to jump around. Write the last scene, then the sex scene that will happen later. Go back to the fourth chapter then write an awesome scene that still needs some sort of connecting to your current point. As long as you remember the order, you’ll be fine. (I do everything old school and just sit down and write in a Word doc. If I’m writing ahead in time, I just insert a page break and write it so that it’s at the end of the document whenever I need to put it into the actual timeline.)

Make a playlist that motivates you. Try an inspiration folder (but only when you’re caught up on your word counts!) Give yourself treats for reaching your word goals. I know that week two is the worst, and that it’s hard to get through the period of not-beginning and not-ending, but push through. Write whatever crap comes to mind. It might turn out to be gold, or it’ll serve as a good starting block for a real scene.

Dirty Tricks: Give your character two names, like Mary Jane. Use long chapter titles. Add in blog posts about your writing. Give your character a very long title that he insists on being referred to as, like The Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, and so on. Have a babbling character who speaks about really mundane things. Do not use contractions. Use all five senses to describe things, even if it’s just to say that your character heard nothing interesting.

Good luck to all of you! If you’re behind on your word count, use the weekend to get ahead. Feel free to share any problems you’re having with your novel. I’m really struggling just to keep thing interesting when not much is happening, but I will push on! I’m having foot surgery over winter break, so I’ll have lots of free time for editing.

Previous parts: The Plot, Your MC, Your Love Interest, Subplots, and Outlining,

NaNoWriMo For Newbies – Part 2 ½, Your Love Interest

As you can see, I’ve labeled this as part 2 ½ because I know that many of you aren’t writing romance. That’s fine. Tune back in for part three, but for those of you who want to put that spark into your writing, this is the place to be. (If you missed it, part one, the plot is here and part two, your MC is here.)

Alright, so your MC is going to fall in love with this love interest, who’ll be called Squishy from this point on. If you’re writing a romance, you likely considered Squishy when writing your plot from part one. However, you might not have. I didn’t:

My story is about a fun-loving girl who needs to keep her secret hidden in order to continue impersonating the princess until the real one is found.

Because there are other elements in my story, there’s no hint of romance in it. So we need another fill in the blank.

When MC meets (Squishy) he/she thinks (blank). Then, (blank) happens and they (blank).

That’s very broad, but here’s how I would apply it to my story:

When Wild meets Daviat, she thinks he’s boring and rude. Then, he’s assigned to guard her at all times, and they are forced to put up with each other.

Clearly, just from that sentence you can see a plot emerging. Wild is fun-loving, but Daviat is a stick in the mud. He guards her to keep her in line while she’s impersonating the princess, and you can think of all the situations where they could connect since they’re together 24/7.

Here’s another fill in the blank to be applied to the second act of your novel (or at least it shouldn’t happen in the beginning if you’re writing a romance):

(Squishy) proves his/her love when he/she (blanks) for (MC).

My example: Daviat proves his love when he runs away from the castle with Wild to protect her.

Once you’ve completed that, here are some general romance tips:

  • If your main genre is romance, you need subplots. You can’t have an entire novel of MC and Squishy falling in love.
  • Avoid love triangles, please.
  • No matter what genre you’re writing, your characters CANNOT fall in love instantly unless they acknowledge that it is way too sudden but they can’t stop it OR you’re using as a plot device in YA like, “Oh silly teenager you think you’re in love.” By taking out the slow progression of romance, you’re killing the genre.

Anyways, I hope this helped! Part three will be sub-plots!