Here is a tip for those of us who started out with a vague idea of where our story was heading but, 7 days later, we seem to have strayed off on a tangent.
NaNo writing tip number three
Get back on track.
- Find a notebook with a blank page.
- At top of page, write a brief sentence describing where you are now in your story.
- At the bottom of the page, write a brief sentence describing where you want to be at the end of this chapter or section or, if you want to plan that far ahead, by the end of the novel.
- Jot down a few of the important milestones you need to pass along the way – maybe some you have already planned and maybe some that have only just occurred to you.
- Next time you sit down and take up the story, make sure you are heading towards that first milestone.
This tip will save you a world of pain as you struggle beyond the first few days of NaNo and suddenly realise you can’t remember a single word of what you wrote on day one.
Here is a tip for NaNo ‘pansters’ – yes, those brave people who sit down and write, without a plan. This tip will save you a world of pain as you struggle beyond the first few days and suddenly realise you can’t remember a single word of what you wrote on day one.
Yep, in the early stages it is fairly easy to read back over what you have done and to find those vital pieces of information.
- What was the colour of my hero/heroine’s eyes/hair/car/cat?
- What was the wicked stepmother/boss/ex-husband’s real name?
- How exactly was the vicar/cook/gardener killed and was it in the library/kitchen/flower-bed?
But how will you cope when you get towards the end and there are 50,000 words to scroll back through?
NaNo writing tip number two
Keep a notebook. Jot down:
- The names of your characters as you invent them.
- A few descriptive features about their looks or their possessions.
- A time-line of key events, ages, dates.
My 2013 NaNo novel is called Chasing Credit. Got to get back to it…
Writing tip number one: avoid the terror of staring at a blank page.
I have learnt a tremendous amount about writing since I started doing NaNo, back in 2010. Here is a tip – not my tip – but a tip mentioned by many others:
NaNo writing tip number one
Avoid the terror of staring at a blank page.
Before you finish for the day, write a few words to help kick-start your work tomorrow.
- Leave an unfinished sentence…
- or jot down a few bullet points, outlining the next scene,
- or write the final words of the next section and leave a gap so you can start the next day knowing where you are heading.
My 2013 NaNo novel is called Chasing Credit. Now I have to get back to chasing my word count.