So you want to write a novel? And you think NaNoWriMo might help you do it.
It might. But only if you do it right.
A few years back, I was in your shoes. My brother had just run his first marathon and I wanted to show him that I, too, could complete a mammoth challenge. I hadn’t written much fiction in decades, but had spent much of those years struggling to find my way into and around the plot of a novel. NaNoWriMo fit the bill.
I signed up on October 22nd, started writing on November 1st, and claimed my winner’s certificate on November 28th, having learned how much I didn’t know about writing a novel.
Here, for your benefit, are 5 things I wish I had read before I started:
- 25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo also from Chuck Wendig. Kick-ass, straight talk on the good and the bad about NaNoWriMo.
- NaNoWhoNow? A Big Fat Squirming List of NaNoWriMo ‘Do’s and ‘Don’ts’ from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds
- This is How I Get it Done: Daily Kicks in the Ass for NaNoWriMo Authors by Doyce Testerman. You will need to scroll down the page to get to the links to the free ebook in various formats.
- The Single Most Powerful Writing Tool You’ll Ever See That Fits on One Page by Larry Brooks at Storyfix. To get the most out of this post, you will need to read a lot more of the posts on Storyfix, but this one features a great plotting tool. He has just started a new series on prepping for NaNoWriMo, and I expect it will have excellent advice.
- Moving Quickly Through a First Draft by Elizabeth Spann Craig has some ideas about how to keep moving if you realize you aren’t getting things right on the first draft – which you won’t, though you’ll do better if you have worked through Larry Brooks’ material.
And, if you are looking for a reason not to participate in NaNoWriMo, you could always read Better yet, DON’T write that novel.