Thursday, 18 November 2010

Passed the Middle but How to Get to the End? or 12 Days Left of NaNoWriMo

Finally I have some time to write a blog post post-NaNo (well, for me anyway). I've barely had time to visit the NaNoWriMo webpage and forums these last couple of weeks, let alone enjoy any more writing after finishing my 50,000 words. I'm very jealous of all of you who still have writing left to do! Finishing in 5 days might sound good but I miss out on so much, being buried in school work the rest of the month.

Anyway, as I presented some of my statistics for NaNo in the last NaNo-flavoured post, I thought I would give some tips to anyone interested for finishing their NaNo novel (or any other novel for that matter) and ending up with statistics of their own. For, even though you can always come up with some fun statistics if you fail, it is always more rewarding to know that the numbers you put down helped you win.

First of all, you have to persevere. You have to be able to write even when it hurts so bad (yes, writing can physically hurt) that you can barely stand typing on that keyboard. My first tip: write. Even if it's garbage, if you can't imagine anyone wanting to read it - let alone yourself - just make sure you keep writing anyway. If you stop writing you're never going to finish. It's as simple as that. First drafts are made to edit. I have three first drafts lying around just waiting to be edited into "readability". No one will ever read those first drafts because they are (and I'm understating here) bleed-your-eyes-out-horrible. Or something clever like that.

A way to stay motivated is to give yourself rewards. So, my second tip: give yourself rewards. I know I talk about this all the time, but it does help. It can be food, which is a great short term reward when you immediately need to write something (thus perfect for NaNo), but it doesn't have to be. Perhaps you can take a bath at the end of a gruelling writing day if you managed to reach that word count, or watch an episode of your favourite TV show. Today I rewarded myself for writing up an incredibly boring analysis for school by listening (yes, an audiobook so I can do other things at the same time) to a chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (/Sorcerer's) Stone and cutting my hair. As odd as that may sound it was just what I wanted to do, so I allowed myself the luxury of it for about ten minutes before going back to work.

A different problem in regards to NaNo is to make your story last for 50,000 words. Not 49,999 but 50,000. This was a bit of an issue for me both times I did NaNo. The first year I ran out of story at about 47,000 words and I had to find a way to add 3,000 words in a story I had already written. This year I just made it to 50,000 and reached 50,236 words by the time I ran out of story. Peew. I was beginning to feel afraid around 48,000 when the end was looming over me. What to do? Just follow my third tip: subplots, subplots, subplots! A good story has subplots, and if you think they are annoying and distract from your main plot just make sure that they are interesting, gripping, scary, ridiculous, or whatever you need it to be. I've already added a link to the NaNo forum adoptables thread for subplots - if you need it, use it!

Finally, once you reached 50,000, don't forget to validate your win between Nov 25-30! It doesn't matter if you reached 50,000 if you forget to do that. So... It's kind of important :).

I hope this post has helped a little. Now, go write! (What are you doing reading this? You should be writing!) Good luck!

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