How I Won NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a crazy month where hundreds of thousands of people works towards the goal of writing 50,000 words for their novels. Even though I try to make time to write every day, I love the community of writers that rise up in November to encourage one another forward towards their goal. The forums and the Facebook group are incredibly helpful and, without them, NaNoWriMo would feel much more lonely and long. In fact, it is a big reason why I love this month.

But if I’ve learned anything this month, it’s that one method doesn’t work for everyone. I have very specific things I do to keep myself motivated to keep writing, but those methods might not work for everyone. What’s important, is finding out what works for you and sticking with it! It’s been a year of trial and error, but now I have my settled routine, and I got into the groove just in time for November.

Here’s what I did:

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NaNoWriMo 2015: The First Three Days

The first three days of NaNoWriMo have gone by and I have been at the height of productivity. All of my super outlining has paid off! I’m currently hovering around 12.5k since Sunday, and a total of 25k on the novel – that’s double in just three days! I’ll need the extra boost, because I am aiming to keep up the typing and finish up the entire novel (surpassing the 50k goal) this month.

A big struggle for me with NaNoWriMo last year was I go to 50k, took a giant sigh of relief, and went straight into celebratory/relaxation mode. It didn’t help that I was working 25+ hours in retail as well. There was a huge lull in my writing and it took me more than half a year to finish up THE VARKEN. If I had kept up the momentum, without increasing or decreasing my word count pace, I could have been finished by January and much closer to publishing.

This year, I am hoping to mimic what happened in 2013, when I wrote THE KEEPER. I didn’t have too much on my plate and so that allowed for a bunch of writing time. I cranked out almost 90k that month, which was the entire novel. This allowed me to take a little break, and then get dirty fixing it up. That novel went through at least seven re-writes as I worked a lot on improving the world the book took place in, including big things like a deity and the Blessed! THE BLESSED wouldn’t fit into that original world, but thanks to those many rewrites, there is now a great overarching story.

I’m very thankful that my writing has been rolling along so well. I’ve not been allowing myself time to overthink anything and instead focusing on getting the story out of my head, off of note cards, and into a narrative. It has been wonderful seeing characters I have spent so much time developing finally come to life, and I love having so many POVs to choose from.

It is so interesting how different characters experience, access, and impact a situation, that sometimes I am tempted to write the same scene twice from different POVs so the reader an see all the different angles! But then I remember that mystery is good too, and if they figure out the little things happening between the lines, then that’s more exciting for the reader anyways.

So that’s the first three days! I’m almost through Act I, where chaos has erupted and the world is turned upside down!

So exciting 🙂

How have your first three days of NaNoWriMo been?

NaNo 2015: The Outline

Some of you may know that I am a Super-Outliner. I don’t ‘pants’ anything when it comes to writing. I fill up every inch of our white board several times.

Each time I outline, I do it a little different, being guided by revelations I’ve had about plotting. I love a story that builds well and develops characters in an interesting way, something I worked on a lot in THE VARKEN. For THE BLESSED, my outlining developed even further, but I started the process the same way I always do.

Three Act Structure. I love it.

With THE BLESSED I had a vague idea of where things started and where things ended. The beginning of Act I and the end of Act III. Because of how the conflict is sparked, I knew where Act I would end, but that left Act II and III largely ambiguous.

So I put on my thinking cap. “How am I going to get to that big finish? What makes sense?”Read More »