For the Criminally Inane

For the Criminally Inane

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October is Prep Month!

Calling all Writers!  Have you ever wanted to write a novel but never had an excuse to just do it? Now you do!

November is novel writing month, that means that October is making Halloween costumes for the cuties as well as plotting my novel as much as possible.

What is NaNoWriMo?  It’s where you write a novel or 50,000 words with a beginning middle and an end in one month. For me I write about 2k words a day and that gives me Sundays and Thanksgiving off. If you’ve done your homework, writing two thousand words won’t take you that long. See link to sign up and get more info!

Why do it? Because there may be an idea itching around the corners of your brain, wanting to come out. Here’s a time when you can actually do that.

Make it happen.

I write romances. But I take my NaNo as an opportunity to write in a different genre, to explore a new voice, to try out different skills, to push my boundaries. In the past, I have branched out to write a fantasy and a historical. This year I’m going to try a cozy mystery.

Your NaNo will not be perfect. That’s not the point. It’s not to create this work of perfected art. It’s to finally put to words ideas floating around your head and it’s going to be messy. I change names of characters mid-story, I change their background and make a note that I’ll go back and fix it if I ever decide if this story is worthy of the time it will take to revisit and revise.

To be successful I suggest a few things:

Give yourself permission to write crap.  There are a lot of perfect, partially written manuscripts out there. Let go of your inner critic and just write. Sometimes in my writing it will actually say, “THIS IS CRAP!” But that’s okay.

Bum glue is most essential. Keep going. If you’ve run out of words, ideas, have someone with a gun come in and then figure out why. Have someone drop a time bomb and they all have to scramble to find it and prevent it from blowing up.

Plot before you write. I don’t know if this is cheating, but lately I’ve been drafting out a rough sketch of my plot before I hit Oct. 31st. I have at least some idea where the book is going. It may change. Last year I also complied a list of complications that are brought on by the personalities and desires of my characters. I think I’ll try that again this year.  It was helpful for when I got stuck. I just had to make something difficult for my main character and I was back in the game.

Plan time to write. This is so important. Block it out on your calendar, put in headphones, ignore phone calls, skip some sleep, tell your friends you are busy, whatever it takes to carve out some time to write. When I first started writing, I wrote when my kids were in bed at about 8pm to until midnight or one or two am. It was wonderful and quiet. No one called during that time, and I had no other engagements. Of course, when the kids started school, that was no longer an option as I had to get up early and take them, but in those dark, quiet hours I really progressed as a writer.

Write everyday. If you are thinking about your novel everyday, writing everyday, thinking some more, writing it will be easier. Monday is my hardest day to get back into writing because I don’t write on Sundays. If you make a constant and consistent effort, it will be easier long term.

Write for as long as stretch as you can handle. The creative process often has to be coaxed out of the grey matter on the right side. Sometimes that takes time.

Music. I like to write with music as it helps me shift my left brain to my right.

Comfy spot. When I first starting writing, I sat on a woven rattan chair. It was horribly uncomfortable. Then I moved to my bed when my husband got me a laptop, but my bum fell asleep a lot. Now I sit in the bay window in my room on a comfy couch and spin tales. Where ever you chose, make it yours. Grab some water if you're going to be there for the marathon, snacks, chocolate, whatever keeps you there.

Decide now what your story will be about. What unique perspective do you have? What story do you want to tell? Write it down and then come and tell me about it.

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