I accidentally wrote a short story for a beginning chapter. I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how to get a novel out of it, but it is not happening, at least not yet. I’m going to take a break this morning from staring at the cursor of doom, and I’m hoping this afternoon will be better.
NaNoWriMo Week 1
Hello! If you are reading this, you have started on the wonderful and fascinating journey that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where everyone who reaches 50,000 words of a coherent story by the end of November wins.
This week is when you find out how hard NaNoWriMo is. For those who have never written a piece of long fiction before, this first week is going to feel not unlike running in
place really fast as you lay the foundation for the rest of the novel. For those who have written novels before but never at this pace, you are going to feel rushed and uncomfortable.
However, I have three pieces of advice for this first week, and if you follow them, you may find the second week easier than the first.
- Enemies one and two of NaNoWriMo are your family members and the weekend. When these two cross, word counts fall behind. So the first piece of advice is that 1,667 words a day are not enough. Before you start to get anxious about that word count graph on your NaNoWriMo page, let me point out where the weekend falls. Day 7 is on Monday, and statistically you should have approximately 11,670 words by the end of that Monday. If you write 2,000 words a day, you can have
8,000 words by the end of Friday and have a word count cushion of about 1,300
words going into your first weekend. This will make catching up on Monday even easier.
- Pick a time to write, and be there to write. Every day. Your imagination needs to be exercised just like any other muscle, and if you show up ready to write at the same time every day, you may find that your inspiration, or that capricious thing called a muse, will begin to show up at the same time too. Make sure that the people you live with know that you are not to be disturbed, or else you will need to find a time to write when they can’t bother you. As an example, I used to write in the very early mornings when my kid was younger, and then nap with her in the afternoon.
- I like to think of this next bit of advice as my mental health advice for NaNoWriMo. For me, NaNoWriMo is like a roller coaster, each week with its own thrill or scare. Week 1 is that slow chugging up the hill. This is where all the momentum for the rest of the ride is built. You have to be careful here. If you run out of steam, then you aren’t going to finish. If you become too anxious or obsessed with the ending of your story, you are not going to have a good beginning or much fun. If everything goes well, you are going to come to the top of the first hill at the end of Day 7 with something like 11,000 to 12,000 words.
And if you don’t, don’t worry too much. There are lots of tricks for building momentum out there, and there will be others after me to help you along during each week. Just enjoy that first hill as the momentum pulls you into Week 2.
Oh, and by the way, there are three things that everyone should tell you about NaNoWriMo but, for some reason, most of us forget them during this first week. Here is a reminder:
- First drafts are never perfect. Don’t feel you have to leave behind that perfect novel. That comes later when you finally sit down and begin to make sure that everyone’s name is correct.
- This is supposed to be fun. Really, I know it is hard, but it should also be fun. If it isn’t, then you might want to rethink how and why you are doing it.
- If you want to publish, you are going to have to edit that monstrosity. You are also going to have to decide whether to try for a mainstream publishing or to become an indie author. The NaNoWriMo website has some great resources, but you might also want to check out the IBC, or Indie Book Collective. They have some great resources for independent authors. This post is also cross posted there.
… I am currently trying to get several plates spinning. I am also trying to deal with fall break. After some research, I’m going to be moving the State of the Writing posts to Monday. I’m going to start trying to put up any poetry on Wednesday, and Friday is going to be for official word count like stuff.
I dislike it when people take certain words and concepts then twisting them for their own gain. As a pet peeve, I usually reserve my true irritation for this practice as it applies to politics — specifically the abortion/murder debate. Abortion is a medical procedure, or the killing of an unborn child is murder. There is no middle ground because one is covered by patient-doctor confidentiality and the other is a federal offense.
However, this isn’t my obsession of late. I find the idea of a young adult genre to be unsettling. It offends my engineering sensibilities to when people use a demographic like age to try to classify something already so hard to classify such as literature or movies. Really, do we have to add to the complexity of what shelf to put something on?
It really chaps my ass when I hear people refer to Young Adult as a genre. What are the basic conventions of the Young Adult genre? High school? Homework? Hormones? Drama, in general?
This makes no sense. Young Adult should be about what age the novel is written for, not to classify subject matter. I am really getting tired of seeing Young Adult getting a listing under genre when it doesn’t belong there.
I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes, but the rant must be committed sometimes.
Well, mostly editing still being done. I have a short story that I have almost polished enough for a round of critiques, and I have a few more chapters of Promise Kept’s sequel done. I really need to get a working title for that, but nothing sounds right.
So I’m coming back from my little hiatus from social media with an idea and hopefully a new novel. Still working on editing novels and trying to get Promise Kept rereleased. Still I don’t feel as badly about working on the old stuff anymore. I’m starting to see the gold in Promise Kept’s sequel. Which really does need a name.
So I got a bit more of Promise Kept’s sequel edited. I’m still waiting on more of Promise Kept. I think I’m just bleeding out. I either need to set up some sort of reward system or stop reading my nook entirely, since I seem to only be reading and watching anime.
In other depressing news, my childhood is getting raped again. They are remaking Footloose and The Thing, to be released in the same week. Sometime this year the remake for Red Dawn will also be coming out. What’s next, Hollywood hacks? The Breakfast Club? Sixteen Candles? The Princess Bride?