29 September 2007

Write a novel with me!

OK, I'm talking myself into doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, even though my schedule for Nov is a big unknown. I really have no idea how much homework & studying I'll need to do - but I figure, NaNoWriMo is crazy any year, so why should this year be any different?

I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it. And I'm inviting you to join me. You can get the details at the NaNoWriMo website, but here are a few tips from me:

1) Don't wait for a year or month when you think it'll be easy. It's never easy. It's not supposed to be easy. If this year isn't convenient, there's no reason to believe next year would be any more conveninet.

2) Spend the month of Oct thinking about the plot, characters, etc, and generally getting yourself ready. Collect ideas, names, events, twists, and whatever else you might need (all you really need is an interesting character or two, a starting point and an ending to shoot for. The rest will take care of itself). Decide if you're going to compose on paper (that's my suggestion) or on a computer (yeah, that works too).

3) Commit to writing every day in the month of Nov (I historically gave myself Sunday's off). Good writing is just bad writing rewritten, so give yourself permission to write terribly, knowing you can always go back and fix it later. Shorter sentences are usually better. The word "that" can almost always be deleted.

4) Take an interesting character and put him/her in as much peril as possible. Let nothing work out for him/her (until the end). That's a decent formula for comedy or drama, depending on how you spin it.

5) Have fun with it! Nobody is paying you to do this novel, your livelihood doesn't depend on it, there's no pressure - it's just for fun, so make sure you enjoy yourself. Go overboard! Neglect housework and sleep (you can sleep and clean in December).

Sign up at NaNoWriMo.org, and you'll get motivational messages throughout the month of November from authors like Tom Robbins. Yes, I said Tom Robbins (he's amazing - read "How To Write Like Tom Robbins" for more info on him).


Michelle said...

See, #1 is why I'm considering it again this year. No time is ever good. #5 is why I'm considering bailing on the idea. It's the whole, "you can sleep and clean in December" that's got me nervous, especially when there's a legitimate concern that this baby isn't going to wait until January to make an appearance. But then again, that's another reason to get the writing done now rather than later . . . Oh, I'm just talking myself in circles again.

Dan said...

Hey Michele - I hope you do it! As you said, no time is ever good, so this is as good as any other time, right? Sure, you've got a baby on the way, and Christmas to prepare for... all these things are reasons for both doing it and for not doing it.

So if it's all even, I guess the only question is whether it sounds like fun!

Gabe said...

What if NaNoWriMo was in January? I always seem to have the best ideas after returning from a rejuvenating Christmas break (mainly because I don't have to go to work). Maybe I'll start NaNoWriMo-Jan