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,

Advertisements

Nano Check-In

I still don’t have a computer, but I’m still keeping my word count up. I’m around 17k right now, but I’m hoping to pass 20k tonight. I’m okay with how my novel is turning out so far, though I already have a mental list of all the editing I need. I hope everyone else is doing well so far. Don’t get discouraged if you get behind! It’s only the first week, so there’s plenty of time to catch up!

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part 4, Outlining

Brace Yourselves

Unfortunately, because of a computer breaking only a month after I got it I MEAN SERIOUSLY WTF A MONTH??? malfunction this post is coming a little late, but better late than never, right? Write. (Heh, see what I did there?)

So, for me, outlining is simple. Very simple. I was taught rigorous outlining methods in middle school for our research papers. Here was the basic format:

I. Something
A. Something more.
B. Something even more.
1. Oh lala, more detail.
a. more detail about that detail
b. Ron Walrus for president 4030
2. And you gotta have at least two for each section with more detail
a. dunno
b. why
i. stupid
ii. rule
II. Something else.

Obviously, to do it with that method you just have to make the roman numerals into chapters and break down everything in the chapter. That’s what I usually do, that way I can know what happens when and look right to the next thing when I need to write on, with the roman numerals and the letters having the real action and the smaller ones having the detail I came up with when planning the scene. I did NaNoWriMo with an outline like this one year and it was the easiest NaNo I’ve ever done, hands down. Need to get ahead on your word count? Your next scene is right there. All the detail is right there, all in chronological order.

Now some of you, myself included, either don’t have time for such detail or can’t come up with so much on the spot for plot ideas. Well, that’s fine too. This year I’m going a general outline, which just looks like this.

  • Wild meets the outlaws and agrees to be the princess.
  • The Queen finds Wild and wants to behead her, but the King doesn’t. Says they need her.
  • Wild tries to sneak out but can’t find the outlaws.

Basically like that. Just all the points I can think of now, without assigning them to a chapter or putting significance in the bullet. I wrote it out (though those of you who don’t have to run to the computer lab for computer access may want to type it) and left spaces in-between bullets for new ideas that came to mind. I just bulleted my way from start to finish, though there’s an easier way to do that for those of you who are terrible at outlining.

Fill out these:

  • What happens to start the story off?
  • What is happening in the middle?
  • What happens to set off the final events?
  • How does it end?

Once you answer those, fill out the points between them, even if you don’t know anything. If you know that MC and his love interest will hook up in the second half, put that in there. Will the MC see a bad omen in the first half? Slide that in. Any ideas you take the time to write down will help you when you’re stuck and you don’t know what to write. It’ll make everything so much easier if you have some sort of outline, even if it’s just a general direction of where you want each chapter to go.

Next time I will be covering general tips for reaching 50,000 words (assuming my head doesn’t implode from the stress of not having a computer).

If you missed it, part one on plot was here, part two on your main character was here, part two and a half on your love interest was here, and part three on your subplots was here.

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part 3, Subplots

10703565_916866985007290_1938755099440161884_n
Okay, so the picture is completely unrelated, but I found it on the NaNo page on Facebook and I think it perfectly sums up how it feels to be a writer.

Anyways, today I’ll be talking about subplots. So, here’s all we’ve got so far with parts 1 through 2 1/2:

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

So, it’s hard to distinguish what is plot and what is subplot, so I’m going to call it safe and say that both the romance and impersonating the princess counts as the main plot, because they’re really tied to each other, and I can’t have one without the other. To keep things interesting, you need a subplot. Or two. Or six. Really, this being NaNoWriMo, I’m not going to tell you how many you can have (especially since my novel Kiss of The Fey has more than a few, though they are tiny) but here is a quote from another blog on the matter:

That being so, here is my formula for the maximum number of subplots, by word count, you can have in your novel (a novel being a minimum of 60,000 words).
60k words: 1 subplot (e.g., in a category romance, you might have the female Lead plotline, and the love interest plotline, which intersect)
80k: 2-3
100k: 3-4
Over 100 k: 5
James Scott Bell

So, since NaNoWriMo’s goal is 50,000 words we’ll focus on one subplot today. Because I like them so much, here’s another fill in the blank:

While (MC) (blanks), (blank) happens to (character). (Character) must (blank) to make things right.

Yes, that’s very vague, but there is so much room for subplots that it’s hard to narrow down. I’m not trying to give you ideas, but to help you translate your imagination into a paragraph you can work on to write you novel.

Here’s my fill in the blank:

While Wild learns to be a princess, the real princess is taken by the kidnappers and kept as a hostage. The real princess must survive the savage band of barbarians if she ever wants to see her family again.

Again, it’s not exact, just a general guideline. This is a reminder that there are adoptable in the NaNoWriMo forums, so if you still can’t think of a plot, a character, or a subplot, you can snatch one from over there. Here’s another example of how a subplot would fit into the fill in the blank: While MC fights the villain, she begins seeing a dark figure lurking out of the corner of her eyes. She must find the source of this shadow before she can hope to send the villain back to the dark realm. (If you want that plot, you can have it. It was from the adoptable.) 

I hope that helped some of you. Next time I will be covering outlining, and then there will be one post on general tips for reaching 50,000 words.

If you missed it, part one on plot was here, part two on your main character was here, and part two and a half on your love interest was here.

NaNoWriMo For Newbies – Part Two, Your MC

So, you’ve got your plot. A basic one, at least. Now you need a character. I think it’s important to develop your character before fully developing your plot, because your character can change the plot. My nano novel was going to be about a girl who was a shapeshifter, but shapeshifting had to be her secret power that she was afraid of. Once I learned more about my character, I realized that Wild would think that shapeshifting was AWESOME. She would LOVE it. So I had to change her power, which changed the plot.

In my opinion, the best way to develop your character is to take as many character quizes as you can. Not the “Your Character is XYZ” type of quiz, but the ones that ask you tons of questions about your characters. Quizes for dating sites might work too. Here are some sample questions that you all can start with.

What is your character’s full name?

Wistar “Wild” Banister

Who are your character’s parents?

She was raised by a washerwoman and her husband along with her three daughters. Wild’s real parents are hidden to avoid possible spoilers, but I know who they are 😉

What does your character look like? (Tip: Never should this entire description appear in your novel in one area.)

She has short black hair and bright purple eyes. Her skin is very pale, almost white, and she’s a very dainty woman. She looks very young and has a slender nose and red lips.

Does your character have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?

She’s eager to talk to anyone new she sees, almost like a dog. She trusts everyone she meets and thinks that everyone has good inside of them. She gets annoyed when someone doesn’t want to do whatever fun thing comes into her head (like climb a tree or go swimming).

Has your character had his/her first kiss? Is he/she a virgin? Are they currently in a relationship?

No, yes, no.

Who means the most to your character (at the start of the novel)?

Quade. He found her when she thought she would die from loneliness. Granted, he’s the only person she interacts with, and if her dog was a person she’d probably pick her, but that’s that.

What is your character’s greatest fear?

That she’ll be lose control and end up completely alone again.

If your character could change one thing about him/herself, what would it be?

Wild wishes that she was just like everyone else, with a family and something to do every day other than run around with her dog.

 

I’ll leave you guys to find your own quizzes, because you might be able to find some tailored to your exact gender GENRE (I cannot believe I wrote gender, this is because the Amish people in Breaking Amish are wearing distractingly bright clothes). So go forth, flesh out your main character! You can do it for as many characters as you want, knock yourself out.

Next time we shall be talking about how to develop a love interest (so feel free to skip that for those of you not dealing in romance).

Part One is here.

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part One, The Plot

So you wanna write a novel, huh? In one month? I mean, you’re crazy, but alright, I’ll give you a few tips. I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for four years now, and I only lost once (and it was only because my personal life when crazy during November). With my vast knowledge, I’ve decided to write short tips through now till November to help some of your newbies along.

The month of November is full of writing madly to reach 50,000 words, but October is for planning. The most important thing to plan is your plot. You can’t write without it.

For now, we’re not going to outline or go into any details, we’re just going to figure out the basics. So, what is going to happen? Gunfights, romance, Jumanji? Fill out the following sentence:

My story is about a (blank) who needs to (blank) in order to (blank).

Example: 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.

Fill out your own and write it somewhere. Feel free to expand on it, but you don’t have to go beyond that just yet. This is all for now.

Until next time!