NaNoWriMo 2007

Once again NaNoWriMo signups are upon us. The site is up, sporting new Drupal digs, and accepting new novelists who will once again brave the exciting race that is 50,000 words in 30 days- all November long. To recap, NaNoWriMo is a month long journey where people around the world attempt to write a complete novel(la) in about 30 days. By the seat of their pants. Some people go into this "competition" with no plot or characters to write about, others like myself, create a loose plot and maybe a character or two before we start writing. Two years ago, I gave you ideas on using the D*I*Y Planner Story pack. Last year I helped you brainstorm ideas for outlines and plots.

This year, you get advice from last year's first year winner, iScribe. She's compiled a list of things that helped her achieve her first time victory. I've reprinted her ideas with her permission as they are some of the best advice anyone can give returning wrimos (and especially first timers) as they attempt to draft their first novel in 30 days. Read on to learn more about what worked for her.

Last year (2006) was my first year doing NaNo and I won. I crossed the finish line two days before the deadline with 55,000 words and a finished novel. This is what worked for me:

YES - join some sort of NaNo support group. I picked a local one that met at a 24hour / free wi-fi coffee shop twice a week. It was there I wrote the most because you are inspired when there are a dozen other people ticking away on their laptops (like myself) or doing it longhand (gasp! my utmost respect to those writers). If anyone ever got stuck they'd ask out, "Quick! Gimme a name of a pet!" And the first response would be the one that would go in. Great atmosphere for brainstorming plot ideas.

YES - designate a friend to be your NaNo cheerleader. I had one and her name was Innowen.  She would push me into word wars with her via IM. "Okay, I wanna see 500 words in the next 15 minutes! On your mark...get set...WRITE!" Then Innowen would IM me when the time was up and, wow, I would have roughly 700 words already done.

NO - writing every day simply did not work for me. I could not do the 1,600/day. However, I did find my stride and that was to write every other day and get about 3-4K words down. I found the day in between was a nice rest for my brain and my hands. Find your own stride. I have some people who finished within a week. Me? After I counted all the days I wrote, I got done in 2.5 weeks. Do what works for you.

YES - set up a little ritual before you write to get you into the NaNo groove. For me I would have my large college thesaurus (i wouldn't go online for that would distract me with its shiny links and internet goodies), my fingerless gloves, and my personal muse icon for the story I was writing. Last year it was a cute orange monster named Tanja. My friend used a plastic little ninja which she set upon her laptop to get her into the NaNo Zen. This year I shall be writing a horror story so I already have a new pair of fingerless gloves picked out (black 'n' gray with a skull on it) and a muse icon (female ninja ghost action figure -- creepy looking).

YES - create a playlist for your novel so you can listen to music that will inspire your story.

YES - treat yourself every time you write. Even if you didn't reach your word count. Because at least you wrote! I discovered that Coca-Cola worked best for me on the caffeine route rather than cafe mochas. And powdered Donettes were my treat of choice. ;-)

YES - try and get OUT OF THE HOUSE to write as much as you can. No distractions from family, from TV, from...oooo, I need to do some laundry. Local coffee shops love us. As do book stores or any other hang out with free wi-fi. Even though I live alone, I could not stay home because I would procrastinate by busying myself with chores that could wait. Being out forced me to focus on my novel.

NO - outlines was another thing which didn't work for me. I do love structure, but outlines were too cumbersome and too stiff.

YES - instead, I went with some basic plot points. I roughly had 8 points of action or story turning that I wanted in my novel. How they all connected though was where my muse popped in. I had no clue and it was so much fun creating the path to each plot point.

YES YES YES - for cryin' in the night remember to have FUN with it! Place some duct tape over your inner editor and shove them into a steamer trunk. Once I let go of the fact this was not going to be a serious novel, I started having fun creating my own literary world. I even used zombies, pirates and a herd of plot bunnies in one chapter alone and I giggled the entire time. Honestly, that chapter was probably some of the best writing I've done when I learn to just let it go. ;-)

There ya have it! My NaNo 2 cents worth! Good luck in November!

So, who else is with us on this year's trek? Good luck to everyone who's attempting it for the first time this year and welcome back to those returning. I hope your plots are filled with wonder and your word count impressive.

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I'm doing it for the sixth

I'm doing it for the sixth time. Finished three times (2003, 2004 and 2005) and failed twice (2002 and 2006).

Two things worked for me:

1) splitting each day's writing into 3 sessions of around 600 words, so that the 1,667 words do not seem as daunting as 600 words x 3

2) writing the first session first thing in the morning before the day gets going

I'm going to print a little sticker of Snoopy-at-typewriter to paste on my AlphaSmart Neo right next to the screen.

Next year

I'm on sabbatical next year and I am doing it at that time. I cannot wait though.

I have a novel on the shelf that needs a complete rewrite, from the beginning, so I'm doing it November 2008. There is no human way I can do it this year, with my duties at university, but sabbaticals are the best for that. I do not expect to be finished with the novel when I hit the 50K mark, but I will endevour to do the first 50K of my novel in November and the second 50K afterwards. Or somesuch.

Does source code count ?

>:D
-----------------------------------
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

haha er, no :) but one year

haha er, no :)

but one year i was tempted to use a few thousand from a test plan i ALSO wrote during the time. too bad it'd have been completely random from my story.

/innowen

I'm in. #6 for me, too.

This time will be different though. I did a five volume epic fantasy the previous years. This year I'm determined to do something short and stand alone. Maybe a mystery. Maybe horror. Not sure yet.

#6 here too

I've never written a sequel... always pushing ahead into new territory. Although, it's getting harder and harder for me to come up with ideas so we'll see what happens next year.

Good luck on yer newest novel!
/me

Undecided

I've wanted to do this for years. My excuse not to was that I was always in school and November is a terrible time to be distracted from tests and essays and such. Well, I'm still in school (2 graduate classes), working 30 hours per week, and writing a blog. On the other hand, I don't have any kids nor much of a social life. And since I mostly blog about writing, at least I would have something to complain, I mean write about. I should just do it this year, right? Right?

do it. do it. DO IT!

i agree... you SHOULD do it this year. One of my favoritest (yes that is a word) NaNo novels was written in a November that i had to work 17+ hours a day and be on medical alert because my grandma was VERY sick.

sure the end is more rushed, and i lost sleep... but i was proud that i managed to do it despite everything going on around me.

i think you should most definitely see if you can pull this off next month with all that's going on. cos if you can do this... you KNOW you can do it when things are less hetic.

*cheers*
/innowen

Thanks

Thanks for the encouragement. I just might. I'm at least closer than I ever have been before :) I have several novels started to choose from, though I'll probably go with the most recent. It's only been a month or so since I worked on it. Hmmm...

i really recommend you take

i really recommend you take something new from scratch... this way your preconceived notions don't get in the way. that and technically... it's cheating if you're going to work on a novel you already started. :)

but if that's what it takes you to write and work on the first draft... then do it!
/innowen

Hmmm.

It would be really nice to finish something I've started. But of course I have other ideas too. I haven't actually looked at the NaNoWriMo site much; I didn't realize it was cheating :) I just like the idea of being that focused on something for a month and knowing that other people are doing it too.

understandable

That's understandable... and yes, there's a LOT of wrimos who are behind you.

/innowen

NaNoWriMo Virgin

My first year, I hope. Have signed up and trying to think which of the myriad ideas in my head I should have a go at.

My 5th time

Have yet to finish one, though, so I am hoping that this is the year. NaNo is too much fun to pass up, though. =)

I'm in!

I signed up last week, this will be my first time...yes, a NaNoWriMo virgin. I'm psyched!
I'm looking forward to all the help, tips, and support I can get. I'll post my progress on my blog, maybe even some witty excerpts :-)
Comments welcome!

I think I've been convinced

I have been unsure whether to go for it or not this year. The main reason is that I failed totally last year, due to illness, and that was despite having a great idea - if I do say so myself`:-) This year I have no idea (yet) and I am also out of the country for five days and so will have limited time on the trip. However I am being bitten by the bug again and so, as I said, I think I'm gonna have a go again. If anyone wants to add me as a buddy I'm Dazzer67 there too.
*goes off searching for a plot*

dazzer67 Why not use last

dazzer67

Why not use last year's great idea for this year's NaNovel? That's what I'm doing. I didn't finish last year as I was away for 10 days. I thought I would get lots of writing done during those 10 evenings, but I didn't. After a few days, I was quite far behind in the word count and kind of lost heart. But I'm using last year's idea for this year's NaNovel.

Another first timer

This post and a random comment I made in a pub recently spurred me on to sign up for it!

another first timer too!

I just signed up for the first time! Exciting! I like the attitude of the NaNoWriMo organizers!

Hmmmm... maybe...

I'm going to see if I can rope in a NaNoWriMo buddy for encouragement. Sounds like an absurd amount of work and fun at the same time. And if I'm brave enough to do it longhand I can make a special Circa book for the occasion. Joy!

Friend of Pens, Go ahead and

Friend of Pens,

Go ahead and sign up and i'll think you'll find that you'll have a lot of NaNo buddies at your service. :) People here on the site, as well as at nanowrimo and locally. I'm sure you can post in your local region forum that you're looking for a buddy and you'll find a few dozen peeps waiting to welcome you into their wordcount havens.

it IS a lot of work but it's work that's rewarding at the same time. and wow, i've never done a long hand novel... but i know many friends who do. good thing they're good typers.

in any case, good luck on your novel and don't hesitate to call upon us if you need help!
/innowen

I took the plunge

...and signed up in my regional group. I'll probably wimp out and do it on the computer, although pledging to do it longhand means an excuse to buy paper, pens and ink. :-) I will keep a stack of blank cards on-hand in case the muse strikes away from my desk.

Congrats and good luck to

Congrats and good luck to you. I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun this year!

/innowen

Having fun already...

...and haven't started yet. I made myself a Rolla pad of the loose 3x5 cards I've been using to capture notes, and divided them into four main sections: Characters, Events, Settings, and Plot, plus an almighty stack of empty cards at the end next to the Goal tab containing the NaNo word-count calendar and a place for me to jot down each day's actual total when the writing begins...

The "outline" for this novel will consist of assembling the Plot, Settings, and Events cards, with Characters set aside for reference. Specific character notes/continuity items will be jotted on the backs of the cards as I write and used for reference. Wonderfully low-tech and portable, and should sure me of my unnatural longhand urges.

drupal

I'm in nano withdrawl thanks to the "new drupal digs." Drupal sucks! I was hoping for Saturday all-nighter, with word wars, etc. Yeah, right. Bring back XOOPS! 11.03