First, apologies that this episode is a day late. I try to post on Mondays, but my weekend went by in a blur! I hope you enjoy this video and that it inspires you and helps you win NaNoWriMo if you are participating this year.
Jade Young was kind enough to invite me to write a guest post on her blog, The Educated Writer. Hop on over to her site to check it out and read my post on “10 Ways to Meet Your Daily Word Count for NaNoWriMo.”
Please join me in welcoming guest blogger Janell E. Robisch to The Educated Writer! So, you’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. You’ve committed to writing 50,000 words in thirty days. If writing every day is new to you, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed.
Please welcome guest blogger Jade Young to Wordy Speculations…
In less than two weeks, NaNoWriMo will begin. That’s right! On November 1, writers will flock to their notebooks, typewriters, and desktops in a frenzy to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.
Unfortunately, around the forty-thousand-word mark, many writers face something that’s daunting for even the most experienced writer: the dreaded middle. It’s going to be even tougher during NaNoWriMo because, let’s face it, you only have about ten thousand words to go, you’re tired, you still need to plan your Thanksgiving dinner, and there are other things you’d prefer to do instead.
You’re also no longer inspired. When you start a novel or a contest, you’re excited and motivated to continue writing. By the time you get to the middle of your story, however, you start to run out of steam, and you may not even feel like continuing to write. However, by taking note of these five tips, I promise you’ll overcome the dreaded middle and crush your writing goals.
Tip One: Preplan
Many writers use October to prep for NaNoWriMo. Preplanning and coming up with a rough outline before you start to write means you won’t get frustrated when you get close to the middle of your story. You’ll know exactly where you want to take your novel and what conflict you want to arise to keep your readers interested.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a plotter, I highly recommend you take an hour or two to think about your novel and how you want things to pan out.
Tip Two: Ask Questions
Even with the best outline, we may still only have a vague idea of what we want to happen in our novel. To combat this problem, asking questions can be helpful. Ask yourself
What does my main character want?
What does my main character do, or need to do, to get what they want?
Is anything, or anyone, standing in my main character’s way?
What will happen if my main character doesn’t get what they want?
The goal here is that the more questions we ask ourselves about our novel, the more ideas we’ll come up with, and the more motivated we will be to write.
Tip Three: Change the Point of View
I love when authors write books from multiple points of view. Not only does this method keep readers interested, but authors don’t have a chance to get bored. Even if authors don’t utilize this tactic, it can help them see the story’s setting, plot, and main character from a different angle, and this can help them move the plot forward in new ways.
Tip Four: Work Backward
How do you want your story to end? Often, when we as writers visualize the ending of our novels, it helps us see what we need to do to get our main characters to that climactic moment.
Tip Five: Plot Twist
I always enjoy a good plot twist. It shakes me to my core and keeps me engrossed. The same can happen to the writer.
Throwing in a good plot twist is not only easy but can also drive your plot forward or even change the course of your story. Of course, you want to make sure your plot twist is believable and natural, but for the sake of NaNoWriMo, I recommend going for it. You can always edit it out later.
I hope these tips will be helpful to you whether you’re writing during NaNoWriMo or any other time of the year. If you have any other suggestions to help writers overcome the dreaded middle, be sure to leave them in the comments below.
Jade Young is a blogger and editor currently working on her debut novel. You can find helpful tips, writing advice, and writing resources on her website at www.theeducatedwriter.com You can also follow her on Twitter at @authorjadeyoung.
National Novel Writing Month, known among the in crowd as NaNoWriMo or just NaNo, starts November 1. Does writing a whole book (a.k.a. 50,000 words!) in thirty days sound tempting? Does it intrigue you?
Maybe instead it overwhelms you. You like the idea of completing a book that fast but are not sure how you can get everything else done and write 1667 words a day (1667 × 30 = 50,010 words).
Fortunately, although you need to write each of those fifty thousand words in November to officially win NaNoWriMo, there are plenty of things you can do now to get ready.
1. Sign Up
Go to nanowrimo.org and create your account. Then, create your novel (oh, if it were only that easy!). Fill in your title, synopsis, and genre and add a nice cover. This makes your project real, and you can jump right in on November 1 with actual words!
Your tribe is everything! Accountability is everything!
Fortunately, finding your NaNoWriMo tribe is just a few clicks away.
Ask your writing friends if they are doing NaNoWriMo. You’ll be surprised at how many of them have been doing it under your nose for years! Poll your followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Get these authors’ NaNoWriMo usernames and use the search bar on your NaNoWriMo dashboard to find their pages. Then, simply click Add as Buddy. Don’t forget to ask them to add you as well. You might even find local groups to meet with in person for NaNoWriMo write-ins.
The NaNoWriMo website also has community forums—a built-in tribe—and there are also plenty of NaNoWriMo groups you can join on Facebook and thousands of people tweeting about NaNoWriMo. Try searching the hashtags #NaNoWriMo2017, #nanoprep, #preptober, or simply #NaNoWriMo.
3. Write an Outline and/or Pick a Story Structure
Preparation can make or break an author during NaNoWriMo. Sure, you’re high on excitement for the first week with a new book, new characters, and so many possibilities.
Then, week 2 comes, and you’re stuck in the murky, muddy middle. This is when your preparation comes into play and keeps you going.
Your outline can be as basic or as complicated as you want, but if you have a roadmap, signs telling you at each stage where you’re going next, your chances of giving up midmonth because you’ve run out of ideas decrease dramatically!
If you’re not a big outliner, I’ll let you in on a little secret. On October 31 of last year, I decided to do NaNoWriMo for the first time. No time to outline a whole novel, right?
My solution? I picked out a well-known story structure, the hero’s journey. It covered each of the steps I would need to get my hero from her ordinary world, through her journey, and back home again.
Once you’ve got an outline or story structure, open up Scrivener, Word, or your favorite word processor. Then, go ahead and enter your chapter or scene titles.
With the hero’s journey last year, I entered different scenes into Scrivener, such as “Call to Adventure” and “Refusal of the Call.”
Every day, when you sit down to write, your map and landmarks will already be there on the page, waiting to guide you.
As an added bonus, this makes it much easier to write out of order if that is how you roll. Write your ending first? Stuck in Act 2? Got a perfect idea for a foil at the beginning of Act 3? No problem. Skip ahead or go back. The map is still there, so you can fill in the rest later.
5. Build Your Characters
Use your favorite method to create some sheets or profiles for your main and secondary characters. Nail down their backgrounds and, most essentially, their motivations.
What do they want and what are they willing to do to get it? If you know the answer to this question, it will help you every time you get stuck wondering what happens next.
6. Build Your World
Don’t wait to name your characters, establish your settings, and draw your fantasy maps. Do it now, before NaNoWriMo. Again, the bigger the foundation you have in place under the water, the easier it will be to finish the tip of that iceberg.
7. Do Your Research
In the same vein, once you have an outline or structure in place and have ideas for your settings and characters, you’ll know what information you’re missing. So, do your research now and take notes instead of getting stuck down a research rabbit hole and falling behind on your word count in November.
Preparing for NaNoWriMo will make it easier for you to get those words in every day.
Do you prepare for NaNoWriMo or just jump in head first on November 1? If you plan, what are some of your favorite steps? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear about them.