It’s hard to believe but NaNoWriMo is almost here. Becca and I won’t be participating officially, but our November definitely includes putting miles on our Emotional Wound Thesaurus book.
I thought I’d pass on a few hacks I’ve learned that have helped me out many a time during NaNo.
1. Start with a plan (yes, even the Pantsers). Really, the more you know about your plot and characters going in, the more it helps. Understanding what motivates your hero and why is the golden thread of your story, so don’t go in blind. There will be plenty of room for pantsing, trust me.
2. If you get stuck on what comes next, skip ahead. Think about the story ahead and the next scene you see clearly in your mind. Maybe it’s two scenes down the road, or two chapters. Either way, put a placeholder into your book like, “Cindy is released from prison on a technicality” and then jump forward to the next scene you know will happen, like Cindy stalking the only witness to the crime. Words flow again, and in the background, you brain can work on the problem. When the answer hits (and it will), you can “fill in” the missing scene.
3. Hate the scene? Change the setting and rewrite it. Many don’t realize it, but setting choice is a pretty big deal. How well the scene works is influenced by how well you utilize your setting, so choosing the right one is important. You can really mess with a character’s emotions, alter the mood, create conflict, and home in on fears, hopes or dreams as you need to, all using the setting. Here’s 4 ways to nail down the best setting choice for each scene. (Psst, if you rewrite the scene, keep the old one as it’s part of your 50K word count!)
4. Always end the session knowing the next line. We can lose momentum between writing sprints–one minute the words are flying, the next, nope. If you are writing a scene and need to quit for the day, try not finishing it…wait and pick it up again in your next session. Or, start the next scene just enough that you see the direction and then stop. This will help you get into the flow faster and keep the paralyzing fear of WHAT COMES NEXT at bay.
5. Triage, Triage, Triage. Getting stuck or stumped may happen. Let’s be real–it probably will happen. But that’s totally okay because all you need to do is visit the NaNoWriMo Triage Center. You can find help for Character Issues, Plot Problems, Conflict Juicing, Story Middle Problems, plus a bunch of brainstorming links.
Joining the NaNoWriMo frenzy? What are your favorite tips? Share them in the comments!
Oh, and before I forget, if you have heard about our other site One Stop For Writers, now’s a great time to check it out. In fact, if you use this coupon before the end of November 2016:
…your first month is only $4.50.
November seems like a good time to have instant access to 12 description thesauruses (emotions, setting, weather, symbolism, skills & talents, physical features, colors, positive attributes, character flaws, emotion amplifiers, and others), doesn’t it? And of course there’s also a ton of writing tutorials, lessons, story maps, timeline tools, generators, and other writerly stuff there too.
Becca and I are cheering you all on! Go, NaNo Warriors!
The Bookshelf Muse is a hub for writers, educators and anyone with a love for the written word. Featuring Thesaurus Collections that encourage stronger descriptive skills, this award-winning blog will help writers hone their craft and take their writing to the next level.