NaNoWriMo: A Day Late & Low Word Count In

So, I didn’t write anything yesterday. But that’s okay. If I can “win” NaNo, that’s awesome, and I will probably add a bullet point to my resume, but I am really striving to find balance every day, so I’m not going to beat myself up if a “win” doesn’t occur. I’m winning by writing. (Also, I need to make time for my kid and my grad school reading/schoolwork/etc.)

winning

Anyway, let’s talk writing.

One of the big things I always struggle with, is what to name my characters. I now realize that there is an entire NaNo forum dedicated to what to name things, but, in addition to that resource, I generally find myself using baby name sites. A resource I have used this year is the 25 best-loved baby names. This site is particularly helpful, because I knew that I wanted some popular names for a couple of my characters, due to the nature of those characters.

I hope everyone else’s first 2 days of NaNo went relatively well! Please, share your favorite writing resource in the comments below:

Please to comment below.

Please to comment below.

Conflict

A novel is nothing without conflict.

ef4e4a916adadc65030ecea34441c199So if you’re getting bored or lost during NaNo, perhaps think about what conflict your novel is currently centered around. Maybe it’s the wrong one. Maybe it’s not in there yet.

& I feel it is often said to kill off a character, if you’re stuck, although I don’t know if that advice is good or bad.

Share your favorite conflict story in the comments! Let’s get motivated.

Setting Yourself Up to Win: Notebook in October, Novel in November?

london - notebook

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have no clue what I plan to write about in November. There are always ideas swirling in my head, but I probably don’t have the time to outline before November 1st, so I plan to kind of fly by the seat of my pants.

fly by seat of pants

I feel that the best way for me to approach November might be to observe the world around me, jot down thoughts in my notebook, and when November hits, figure out what coalesces in my mind, based on what has tickled my fancy during October.

How about you guys? How are you preparing for the month of little sleep & bleeding creativity out onto a Word document?

bleed

THIS is why you’re contemplating participating in NaNoWriMo:

closer

Even contemplating participating in the insanity that involves writing 1,667 words every day immediately after you’re done being scared by Halloween, and thus, in the midst of the holiday season, is a big task.

Writing a novel is a lot of work. It is not advisable to sugar coat the endeavor; you sit in a chair, with your real-life experiences and/or your imagination, and try not to focus on the blinking cursor (b/c that shit can be mesmerizing, which probably won’t help with the dilemma of writer’s block). Writing is work, and only the most persistent finish their works, and if they want, get published.

But if you’re contemplating participating in National Novel Writing Month, you should probably do it. Take the jump, giving yourself the chance of a great reward by leaping into a large risk. If you’re thinking of writing 1,667 words or more every day in November, there is a story inside of you that you want to get out. And if you don’t do it in November, when will you do it?

I think I’m going to try to post something writing related and/or inspirational throughout October, to help remind myself why I want to participate in NaNoWriMo, to stoke myself up for the process (b/c you’re more likely to achieve your goals if those goals are materialized in your mind), and to provide a place to turn to when I begin to feel lost in November.

Writing novels is hard, but we can do this. In the spirit of pending commiseration, what is your favorite piece of writing advice?

NaNo, Write Mo’

In the midst of my master’s program, which is challenging and wonderful, but which I need to balance a bit more. For the next few weeks, I’m going to be focusing my energy on working exercise into my life.

In November, the plan is to work writing in. I’ve been writing a little bit now, but I want to make sure that I don’t let business classes overtake my life, and so I have committed to NaNoWriMo to help me remain committed to keeping a little bit of literary style in my life, which helps keep me balanced.

So, for those who are WriMo’ing this No, feel free to friend me; my name is WritingMom2013. I will certainly need some encouragement, and am happy to return the favor.

Friend Me!

Friend Me!

Because the goo…

Because the good news is that we learn just as much about writing from awful books as we do from top-notch books. That’s why we’re encouraged to read everything. So with that spirit in mind, I’d like to look at some of the glaring mistakes of No Name Book that no author should make and no self-respecting author should allow to be published with their name on it.

First, my personal pet-peeve, copious backstory dump. For those unfamiliar with the term, backstory dump is when the author packs the first couple of pages—or first couple of chapters in this case—full of block paragraphs of exposition. Not just any exposition, the life-story of the main characters including all of the important bits of their pasts that will play a role in the current story. No! There are so many ways you can convey that sort of information without dumping it all out in explanatory paragraphs at the beginning! Let it unfold gradually, through dialog and action, and as part of the natural arc of the story!

This quote is from Merry Farmer’s blog, which deals a lot with reading and writing and is often pretty entertaining at the same time. Some of her blogs are romance-specific, and I’m not generally a romance fan, but I still highly recommend reading her blogs – especially since she writes much historical romance, and so a lot of her posts are about “what the hell were these people thinking when –“

But on to my perspective. First of all, reading her blog post, I completely agree with her opinion of the copious backstory dump. Exposition tends to be boring. BUT while reading this particular blog post, I began to wonder – does it have to be boring?

There has to be a way to make even large chunks of information highly entertaining.

One of my favorite novels, ever, is Northanger Abbey. NA begins with a lot of exposition, but all of that exposition is also a parody of gothic novel beginnings. The author (Jane Austen) covers a great deal of time (birth to marriageable age) in a few pages, and writes clever, pithy lines that always make me giggle.

Is that the trick, then? Humor? If you make me laugh while reading, I don’t tend to notice the format of the reading – I just let the ab workout take over and gleefully turn the pages.

What are your thoughts? I feel like this topic is pretty relevant since many people are beginning novels today (NaNo for the win! I’m not doing it this year, but I will cheer for you).