Friday, October 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo Advice to Newbies (Like Me!)

Note: Have you voted yet for the story idea I’ll write for NaNoWriMo? See the October 10 blog,  scroll to the poll at the bottom of the page, and vote for which story you’d like me to complete.

As I prepare to head in my first NaNoWriMo, I sought advice from my on-line groups at Facebook for ways to not just survive the month, but to thrive. I want to complete a 50K novel in November. So I asked for newbie advice from those who competed in the past. I sought input from: Chick Lit Goddesses, Lit Pow Writers, and SCWC (Southern California Writers Group).

On the NaNoWriMo website (, they provide 3.5 hints. Really. This is a group with a sense of humor who take themselves seriously by not acting serious. Last year, out of more than 250K participants, fewer than 15% completed at least 50K words.

NaNoWriMo Tips from NaNoWriMo:
1)    It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. Stick to it and it will happen;
2)    To finish 50K DO NOT EDIT as you go;
3)    Announce to your world that you’re doing it; and,
3.5 You’re doing to want to quit--don’t.

Support groups are available and NaNoWriMo urges you to use them. They say that the first week typically goes well, the second week is want-to-chuck-the-whole-thing week, the third week stuff comes together, and the fourth week is smooth sailing. All of this assumes you keep up with the writing and are not far behind, if at all.

From my FB writing groups, I got great tips:
Jackie said to not fall too far behind in daily word count because it’s really hard to catch up.

Rick said not to give up but keep going.

Leah (a 12-year participant and winner) said that even if you are normally a “pantser”, you should be a “plotter” in order to participate and win in NanNoWriMo. Write every day and “bank” extra word count when you can for the days you can’t get there. She recommends identifying at least one interesting character, writing a one sentence summary, writing a paragraph summary, writing a one page summary, id character basics, and list 30-40 scenes so you can write at least one each day of November. She said the breakthrough comes at the 35K mark. Quell the inner editor and lower your standards. And always write what you love. Please check out her site for more on NaNoWriMo in the coming weeks.

Dot, on the other hand (10 or 11 years of winning) says she goes in with the barest of ideas, and “let ‘er rip”.

Stefanie suggests outlining your favorite novel and use that as a template to outline your novel. Make sure you know the ending first.

So there you have it, advice to us newbies from those who are experienced. Are you joining me in the race to the novel? More on NaNoWriMo in upcoming blogs. Come on back!

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