Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Writing: New MG Project

NaNoWriMo took me a whole different direction than I planned. I had slightly mapped out a sci-fi/fantasy before Nov 1st, but eventually I ran out of story. Because I needed a better outline and bunches of brainstorming to make that sucker work, I abandoned my water world and interstellar characters.

Something had to change to get the words down.

My imagination amazes me some days and as I let it roam, I thought of how I raised my son as a single mom. In his twenties now, he is strong, intelligent, and kind. I’m very proud of him.

These thoughts brought up other thoughts and before I realized it, I was thinking of another boy—not my son but an imaginary middle-grade boy—and put him on his bike facing the longest, and the steepest hill in the world on his worst day of his life.

Kid suicide is a serious thing, and this kid faced it every day on his way home from school when he stopped at the top of the longest, and the steepest hill. Every day he wanted to let go, race to the bottom and end it all.

poppy-1778345_1280I started writing about this boy and how just before the bike loses control he gives himself one more day. But his life is without hope until he sees a poster advertising a magic club meeting at the local library.

This story is about how he earns his place, finds the pieces of his wand and with the help of some friends eventually assembles it. As long as he succeeds he’s fine, but if he fails, there may be no saving him.

Let’s hope I do it justice. Any advice or reading you’d suggest. I’ve written middle grade before but my hero was much older than this little guy.

NaNo: Word Count Tips

Today I popped over to the NaNoWriMo site and discovered I could win if I had nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantthe 50k written. I don’t and it’s the first time in years I’m not ready. Just in case you’re with me in this situation and need help to get those last few words down, I thought I’d share my approach.

I take a long look at my outline. Now that most of the work is down, my vision is clearer and I’m able to see what’s missing.

A lot of times I write about the relationships between my characters. Their overlapping backstory and why they feel the way they do about each other. Rarely, do my characters walk into my stories as strangers. Things that come up are old crushes, unfinished business, or grudges. The results add so much depth it boggles my mind.

When you consider the relationships, supporting scenes, plot points and plot twists appear. We all know intertwined subplots strengthen the main plot and reinforce theme.

I check the notes I’ve been writing all month for scenes that need recrafting and all those loose ends that need wrapping up.

Want the right ending? I rewrite endings, changing them until I find the perfect fit. For me that’s more of a hit and miss kind of thing, and I’ve read the first, second, or even third ending isn’t always the best choice. This is one of my works in progress. I’m working toward a logical surprise, but I’m usually too blunt. Lately, I’ve been working on stretching it out and striving toward reader satisfaction.

poppy-1525814_1920If all else fails, start something new and keep going until you hit the magic number. If you’ve run out of things in one storyline, it may mean a sequel is waiting in the wings.

Go off the rails and let your fingers take you where they will. These tips will help even after November is long gone. Don’t put your work in a drawer if the count is too low. Keep searching for ones that work for you.

Did I miss any? Got a suggestion that may save our bacon? Please, share.

Gleaned from:

NaNo: The Writing Sprint

I mentioned earlier this month that I had a rough start, plugging away blindly nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantusing an unfinished story as a guide. Then I hit a dead end. Being Sagittarius, I work best with a goal, so shot my imaginary arrow, and I wrote a more detailed outline during a writing sprint.

New to me.

I’ve been doing a fair share of online write-ins and I discovered sprinting. I’m sure most of you know what it is. For those of you that don’t, it is a period of time when you write nonstop. Some measure time like the NaNoWriMo Sprint Page and others measure word count like Write or Die.

Either way, it is just short bursts of writing which you can do throughout an hour, an afternoon, or over a day.

What to do.

Set the time for 500 words—about 20 minutes—and write until you’re done.

I’m finding it much easier than doing the daily word count all at once. I give myself five to ten minutes between sprints to regroup.

drug-1300052_640As of today, I’ve managed a new record of 29k and don’t feel the usual exhaustion. Not only that, but my story seems to be more coherent and I’m sticking to my plotline.

Not sure what’s going on, but I like it.

What have you been doing that works? Any tips I should incorporate into my daily routine?

The NaNo Attitude

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantPart of winning NaNo is the writer’s state of mind. I start off pretty sweet. Of course that is just my opinion. Don’t ask my family. No doubt they won’t agree because I’ve given them the riot act when NaNo comes around.

When I start at the beginning of the month everything is fine. I write my 2k, plowing ahead and telling myself I’ll fix it later. I’m nice to myself and feel pretty good about the whole thing.

With or without the riot act, it never fails that something comes along during the month that messes with my daily writing and then I have to re calculate. (I’m sounding so anal right now I’m pinching the bridge of my nose.)

Sure I hang in there and but family demands are not something I avoid no matter how important my writing is to me. I know I’ll drop a few days, and I’m good with it. I kinda like that they need me around.

So here’s the thing. I’m not showing off when I write 2k a day. I’m expecting trouble.

I know some writers pad their word count so they can spend weekends with cornflowers-1549821_1280family or know that the unexpected will happen and plan ahead.

I guess what I’m saying is no matter what you do to plan ahead something will happen. Expected it. Plan for it. And when your attitude starts to slip, know you’re not alone. I’m struggling too.

If you have tips now it the time to share them. 😉

7 NaNo Tips To Help You Win

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantWinning NaNo is all in the planning. Here are some tips to inch us over the finish line.

Number of Writing Days

Choose how many days you plan to write in November and divide that number into 50k. (50k is the minimum. If your genre requires 70k, overflow into December or bump up your daily word count and if you prefer short stories, then line up two or more stories to meet the 50k minimum.)

Success depends on meeting your a daily word count. Plan ahead do the math. For example: Writing 1.7 k every day adds up to approximately 50k.

Daily Writing Prompts

Match the number of days you plan to write with an equal amount of writing prompts. (If you do a general outline, the prompts should be figured out easily.)

Research

Do a majority of your research in advance and keep it close at hand.

Setting and Character

Consider your setting and character’s general descriptions and if possible make a few notes, building on them as the story progresses.

Your Genre

If you are planning to write within a genre, make sure you know its rules and word count. They vary greatly.

Write an Outline

I know it’s not necessary, but covering all the plot points and what word count you’d like them to land on is helpful with pacing and tension building.

Schedule Your November Blog Posts

And if you’re a blogger, get those posts scheduled and make sure your community understands that you’ll be busy until December.

Some extra planning now will ease you over the finish line. Any secrets you’d like to share on winning NaNoWriMo 2016?