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Your Nanowrimo primer

October 29, 2013

Well, not exactly, but…

Friday, it starts.

No, not the NBA regular season, but NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who think this is a type of virus you can remove from your shower by using scrubbing bubbles, you’re wrong. It’s National Novel Writing Month, an event that started in 1999 that challenges you to pump out a 50,000 word novel in 30 brief days. That’s an average of 1,667 words per day for thirty entire days.

If you’re looking for a way to get your feet wet with writing, this is a great way. The rules are simple–sit down and start writing. To start writing, you should have kind of an idea of a story you want to tell. Beyond that, you can just spew words all over the place. The goal at the end of the month isn’t to have a masterpiece, it’s to have a first draft. You aren’t allowed to go back and fix stuff in Nanowrimo. You just have to keep writing.

If you’re interested, hop on over to the Nanowrimo website and check out the complete rules and sign up.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help you though:

  • You should not use the word very three or more times in a row. As in The Florida Writers Conference blog is very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very good. That would be cheating.
  • If you’ve never done this before, follow the rules as they put them out there. Do not go back to fix things (but you can take notes of what you might have to fix later). Why? Because if you go back and start fixing things, you may very well never complete the thing.
  • Do not be afraid of the word count. The typical daily output is about the length of four posts on this blog–all in first draft. You don’t have to go back and tweak stuff.
  • No matter how awful, how artless, how putrid your output is, keep with it. By continuing to write, you may figure things out that can help you with the putridity.
  • If you’re between projects or letting a draft sit before you hit it again, consider writing your current work in progress from another character’s point of view.
  • You could also use this as an opportunity to visit a character you used once and discarded or one you might want to get to know.
  • Don’t think that your final product will be even remotely complete. You’ll have tons of revisions to do, especially if you want to make it better.
  • Most important, have fun.

Are you participating this year?

  1. October 29, 2013 6:16 am

    I participated in the past; sometimes I finished with just over 50k, sometimes the inspiration well dried up and I fell short. Of the times I finished, each baby story is in editing faze, on its way to becoming a fully grown novel. This year I plan on participating again.

  2. October 29, 2013 7:57 am

    Yep, first time. I tried it a few years ago and didn’t finish. I think I’m ready now. Also, as a side, I appreciate your use of the word “putridity” as you don’t see this used very (only one!) often!

  3. October 29, 2013 7:57 am

    Sorry, also, thanks for the tips on Nanowrimo!

  4. October 29, 2013 8:30 am

    Participating in NaNoWriMo is an excellent way to get your book written down from start to finish. So many times, writers start a book, only to stop halfway through it. Well, that is why I love NaNoWriMo. It’s a kick in the pants to motivate you to finish what you start!

  5. October 29, 2013 8:57 am

    Please, Chris! 50,000 WORDS, not pages! I’ve done NANO about six or seven times. My “Prince of Keegan Bay” began as a NANO exercise and went on to win first place in humor in the RPLA. I have at least three novels worthy of rewriting that have been sitting in the “drawer” starting in 1999. It’s a lot of fun and a great personal challenge. There are local NANO groups, though I don’t participate. When I started, I was outside Cooperstown, NY before the local meeting concept began. Back then the closest participants were in Utica. I encourage everyone to try it. It’s fun to check on your word count on the site and compare yourself to your fellow writers.

  6. November 4, 2013 6:12 am

    This is my 8th year doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve written a lot of putrid prose during Novembers past and 2013 will not disappoint! I’m taking it mobile this year and wrote a little article on my plan.

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