Advice for WriMos as you enter the home stretch

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, the best NaNo advice I can give you at this point in the game is to throw caution to the wind and work to the end of the story. If a scene is too difficult, write a placemarker sentence or paragraph of what should happen in it and move on to the next scene. Write whatever you can write, and as as much as you can write. If you have later scenes already in your mind, write them out of order then work toward them. Focus on the getting to the end of the story, even if it means you have to fill in some stuff later. I’ve found that it’s easier to rewrite a complete draft even if I have to fill in some missing scenes, than to pick up a cold unfinished draft and finish it after having lost the momentum (AND then still have the whole rewrite to do). This may be different for you, but especially if you’re the kind of writer that has trouble finishing things, you need to work toward finishing the story by the end of the month. Remember: this is just the rough draft of a very short novel. It doesn’t have to be good; you just need to get all the essential bits written down. Every first draft needs a rewrite, but you can’t do that until the draft is done. NaNoWriMo is all about knocking out that first draft. You can agonize over it sentence by sentence in the rewrite. 😆 Good luck, everyone!

Resources for NaNoWriMo Prep

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo next month, check out my NaNoWriMo prep tag. I’ve done a number of posts with resources (naming characters, story structure, Evil Week, online writing resources) helpful hints, and advice based on my own NaNoWriMo experiences. (I’ve done it a number of times and always finished successfully and early.) For things I’ve posted while doing NaNo, see the NaNoWriMo tag. Over on my author blog I’ve tagged a number of longer NaNoWriMo posts, covering both pre-NaNo and post-NaNo.

I’m not doing NaNo this year because I just have too much work to do on various drafts in assorted series, so I really don’t need to start another book right now! I wish all my fellow WriMos the best of luck as you draft your NaNo novel next month!

Posted in For Writers

Good Reasons Not to Do Camp

I’ve been considering whether to do Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I’m working on the second draft of the sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships, and though Camp didn’t work out quite like I expected when I was redrafting last year, I thought that perhaps a semi-random cabin might work. But, no, I’ve decided not to do it. NaNo can be useful, but you’ve got to know yourself and your project, and use NaNo only when it’s a good fit. Right now it wouldn’t be a good fit. I have a sufficient amount of new words that I need to write to meet their minimum, but although I need “more”, I don’t need “faster”. Sometimes I’m annoyed that I’m not further along in getting this draft ready for beta readers, but I really do not need to be working fast; at this point I need to be writing well. Fast is what gave me this rough sloppy draft. Slow is what turns a rough draft into a real book manuscript. The story is complete in the sense that it goes all the way to the end, but it’s patchy with a lot of rough edges. In this draft I’m back-filling scenes and things that I left out, and carefully stitching the details together. Also, I’m cutting as well as writing. That doesn’t play well with hitting a word count goal. Camp has a formula for counting editing, but using it feels like cheating (see last year’s post-Camp post on my author blog). Right now, for this draft, writing fast with a word count goal is not the right thing to do. The NaNo thing is the exact opposite of what I need to be doing, and of what I am doing. It tempted me because I want to be finished with this draft so I can go back to my other project. But I don’t need the pressure of “fast”; I’m making good, steady, progress — and it’s possible that I’ll finish the draft by the end of April anyway, without any unnecessary pressure. (Especially since last year I actually worked less than when I wasn’t doing Camp!) Re-writing is less fun than writing; adding the pressure of word count and deadline would suck even more fun out of the process. I do think that Camp would be fun for the right project and the right time. This isn’t it. It’s important to evaluate projects, and your needs for a project, to match things up so that your working experience synchs with your needs for each project at each point in the project.

Posted in For Writers

NaNoWriMo: But wait, there’s more!

As promised, here’s my post-NaNo assessment on my author blog. This was not a good year for me to do NaNoWriMo, but I did it and as a result I have a rough draft sequel to the novel coming out in the spring.  BTW, I will have one more NaNoWriMo Song of the Day post for all you WriMos out there still working hard on the draft of your novel. I know I’ve picked up some followers during NaNoWriMo and I hope you’ll stick around. This blog is eclectic. I may post links to fiction, podcasts, about writing resources, but also pics of dogs, knitting, my garden, nature, and there will be occasional food-related cross-posts from the group blog I’m part of. Not to mention truly random things. The thing is: I’m doing this as a microblog, so everything here will be short. I won’t subject you to long tedious random posts. I’ll subject you to short light random posts. So stick around. There’s really no telling what you’ll find in coming posts. 🙂