National Novel Writing Month, sounds like fun. No? Well, I gave it a go, and it was a mother.
The object of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel in one month. That’s not a lot when you consider that the total number of words in Tolstoy’s War and Peace has 587,287. Of course, he wasn’t fighting a 30-day deadline. To write, edit, rewrite and end up with a reasonably coherent story, all in 30 days will leave you positively twitchy. Trust me, I bailed on day 28.
Having said all that, if you have some uncontrollable urge to listen to me whine about the NaNoWriMo, I’ve got a couple of posts over on Some Old Dude.
I thought I’d put down a few things I took away from that masochistic exercise.
Everybody has their own way of writing, and if you try to copy them exactly it probably won’t work nearly as well for you.
There are plotsters (planners), those are the people who plan every meal, clip coupons, go to the grocery store, and don’t buy anything that’s not on their list. You can always spot one of these the minute you step into their office. They have a place for everything and everything is in its place.
Then there are pansters, those people who write out a list, leave it on the kitchen counter and wander the aisles trying to remember what the heck they needed. With them, every meal is a surprise. They have notes and notebooks scattered everywhere. For instance, my office looks like somebody dropped a small tactical nuke.
I use a laptop with LibreOffice, others use MS Word because it’s almost universally accepted in publishing circles, but some people; okay, one person I actually met, use devices like this Neo2, which is nothing but a minimalist word processor capable of displaying four to six short lines at a time.
If you’re going to write 50k pages in thirty days you need to have your research in order…. in advance. I wrote a thief but had to research locks, alarm systems and any actual crimes using the basic mo and how they got away with it. And where the heck do you sell documented diamonds.
You need your basic character profile (character arc) written down. –My protagonist had a sea change, from a crook with a heart of gold, to a self-centered bastard.
You need the major points in the story (story arc) written down. –Mine went from stealing some diamonds to a murder mystery.
All this points to a need to get organized. Don’t keep notes in several notebooks, don’t use more than one program, keep focused on the task at hand.
It’s only thirty days but sometimes it feels like forever.