Hello, fellow NanoWriMo Blog-hoppers! I’m excited to make your acquaintance and look forward to reading your blogs and your novels!
The first NaNoWriMo I participated in was a blind leap of faith, but since then I have always known right from the start on November 1 if I will win it or not. There’s a clearness of purpose and focus that I either have or don’t have before November arrives. I’m a hybrid writer, somewhere between the extremes of pantsing and obsessive pre-planning. But, when I have done no planning, had no thoughts or dreams about my stories or characters or settings, I know the month won’t result in 50,000+ words of rough draft.
This year, my setting inspiration struck in early August. Along with the setting, I had vague ideas for a plot and a handful of characters. I opened a Scrivener file and created a Pinterest board a few days later, to start capturing information about the characters and the initial setting inspiration.
So, you’re going to take part in National Novel Writing Month.
Good for you. Excellent. As John McClane said in Die Hard: “Welcome to the Party, pal.”
Here, then, is a list of quick advice nuggets. You may nibble on these and sample the many tastes. Some of this stuff I’ve said before, some of it is new-ish — whatever helps you, helps you. Whatever doesn’t, just wad it up and throw it into the nearest incinerator. Let’s begin.
I’m reblogging this excellent article about how to write a novel in 30 days because I needed to read it. I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo a few times, always writing in the same universe/future about the same characters.
When a story idea springs into my mind and takes over my neural pathways for a time, the idea is almost always inspired by a setting – a place. Before I know anything about the characters, I already have a sense of the sights, sounds, scents and textures of the place where they will act out their lives, meet their challenges, be defeated, be victorious, be in love, be embittered will become real to me.
Why do settings become real first? For most writers, plot or characters come first.
Usually, the setting becomes real because I find myself walking through it. Sometimes a particularly arresting dream will inspire the setting. Sometimes, a photo or painting will spark a setting idea, and before long characters come to inhabit it. Sometimes the setting becomes real to me because I physically walk about in the place, and suddenly a story takes hold of me and demands to be written.
Today, a tiny hamlet on the Carquinez Strait whispered to me, “There’s a story here. You should tell it.”
I looked forward to attending my first book festival as an “out” writer. I thought the Oakland Book Fest would be the perfect coming out venue for me.
It’s a one-day festival. It’s small-ish, it’s local, and the East Bay NaNoWriMo group was in attendance. The panel discussion I was most interested in attending was chaired by Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo.
For your reading pleasure, here are several articles about writing, publishing and promoting I’ve read this week and found useful, thought-provoking, and otherwise helpful. In this edition, I’ve once again focused primarily on the topic of writing, because I ran into several articles on writing that gave me food for thought and tools for improvement. Enjoy!