Thursday, October 31, 2013

James Patterson's advice for NaNoWriMo

A bit more NaNoWriMo advice, but this time from best-selling author James Patterson. Love #2 and #3.

  1. Outline. If you already have: gold star; proceed to the next piece of advice. If you didn’t, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to go back and make an outline. An outline isn’t something to be scared of, it’s just a chapter-by-chapter description of the scenes that, lined-up together, make your book. On the count of three, tell me the story that unfolds in your novel. All the way to the last chapter. Now write that down. There’s your outline. Easy, right?
  2. Lie to yourself. Honesty is a great quality, but we’re writing fiction here, so you’d better get used to a little light lying. Tell yourself you can do this. Tell yourself your book will be great. The world will love it and you’ll be the next J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salinger, Art Spiegelman, or whatever flavor of author you hope to become.
  3. Get into a writing routine. Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.
  4. Don’t do it alone. If you live with somebody, tell them to be unpleasant to you if they see you doing anything else during your writing time. Buy them a water gun. If you live alone, have friends call and check on you. And if you have no friends, you will have no trouble writing a book in 30 days. What else do you have to do? (I’m not knocking friendless people. We’ve all been there.)
  5. Don’t stress. I don’t mean to undermine the above, but remember this is one month, not your entire writing career. Try hard, learn from it, and if you don’t get to 50,000 words, figure out what you did wrong so you can get there next time.

Last Minute Tips for NaNoWriMo

Here's a handful of last minute tips for NaNoWriMo:

  • Don't forget to read my first article:
  • Believe in yourself. If you're like me, you'll be plagued by self-doubt throughout November. It's going to be a rough first draft.
  • Don't get caught in rewriting. If you think of a better way of writing a scene, just write that new scene. Don't go back and edit.
  • Don't stop reading. I know it'll be difficult to just have to the time to writer your 1667 words a day, but also make sure you take a few minutes to read each day as well.
  • It's a marathon, not a sprint. Stick to your word count. If you fall behind, you still have a lot of time to catch up!
  • Just write. Apply the seat of your pants to a chair and write.
  • Have fun!

The journey towards 50,000 words begins with but one word...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Advice

"Once more onto the breech!" Okay, so who's with me. 50,000 words in 30 days (or 720 hours, or 43, 200 minutes).

I've done it 5 times in the last 6 years and dragged my sorry carcass across the finish line all 5 times.

Here's some unsolicited advice:

  • Go in with a good idea of a synopsis/outline. When you carve out the daily time to write, make sure you know what you're writing about. And don't be afraid to go off on tangents and explore other ideas. But, it always helps to sit down and have a direction to write in.
  • Set a goal of pounding out 1800 words a day, a bit more than what is required (1667 words a day). Why?  It always feels better to be ahead.  Not to mention, there will be days when you won't get any writing done, so you need to build up enough of an advance to stop feeling guilty about not writing.  
  • Use a spreadsheet with 30 days worth of word counts to track my daily progress.
  • Carve out some time, whether it's late at night or early in the morning, or over lunch.
  • Get your family/significant others' buy in. Tell them what you're trying to do. I really does help to tell them your word count goal as they can encourage you. Or at least give them a timeframe for when you'll join them for dinner or come to bed!
  • Maintain some social presence. You can't bury yourself in your novel. Getting out occasionally will help and might even help if you chat a bit about your work in progress.

Let me know if you have any questions...

You can buddy me over on the NaNoWriMo author page at