1. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    NaNoWriMo... Hints and Tips

    Discussion in 'NaNoWriMo' started by hughesj, Oct 17, 2013.

    So this is my second year doing NaNoWriMo. I am doing the proper one for the first time. (Last time I did the YWP so i could pick my word count goals) I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how I can keep on track.

    I have an outline for the novel I want to write but people often say that you don't have to stick to your plan if you have other ideas. I think this may be problematic if you go off in one direction then get stuck? Is it better to maybe just stick to your plan so you can finish NaNo and then go back and change it later?

    Are there any other tips you guys have?
     
  2. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    50,000 divided by 30 is roughly 1667. That's the daily minimum amount that you need to write to reach your goal. I used Scrivener, which has a word count function, but most writing programs do. Turn on the word count and just keep track of where you're at.
    I, personally, made the 50,000 words but I lost without a plot in the middle of my story. So, while it was somewhat successful, it was also a failure. I would suggest that if you feel the need to change something that you have planned, make sure you plan it out the rest of the way with the new plot. It really does depend on your writing style though.

    Good luck!
     
  3. graphospasm
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    graphospasm Senior Member

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    During NaNo I plan my principle novel as well as a handful of short-short or short stories (3-5 depending on combined length). When I get stuck on my novel I hop over to one of my shorts and flex my writing muscles in that context. Usually the act of writing something else, something more condense and straightforward, helps illuminate the problems I'm having with my novel.
     
  4. GHarrison
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    GHarrison Senior Member

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    Last time I had two related storylines going, so as I was writing and making up the first as I went, I'd be thinking of how the other was going to catch up and be relevant. When the first story line got to a comfortable resting place, I'd make a new chapter and hop to the other story line. That technique really helped me flood that doc with words. And it was fun to think about how the story would come together at the end all the while. Hope this helps.
     
  5. Gilborn
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    Gilborn Member

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    I would use a writing program that displays your word count as suggested. I really like Q10, its a free program that turns your entire screen into a word document. It also blocks out most other program notifications. Last year I did well exceed the 50,000 words they just didn't happen in the novel I had planed to write, which was partially due to inspiration for another story, but mostly a lack of planing. This year I'm working on a nice plot line chart so I know exactly what to write for each chapter and can get the words down asap. This is an unusual way for me to write, but it will be fun trying a new technique. Also, make your daily word count goal 2,500. While this can be daunting on difficult days, it will pay off towards the end. During the last week you'll have the time to elaborate in areas you feel need it and cut in places you don't like.


    Best of luck.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it would be wise to stick to the outline if you have one, because as you say, you can always change it later. (in revision) My advice (from my own experience) is don't look back at what you've written until it's all ready and done. Try not to even think too much about how the story is coming out on the paper but just write on. you can evaluate it later. the important is reaching those 50K. And if you feel some days that you can write more than the 1667 words, by all means do so, because it's a good feeling being ahead of the wordcount and it gives you even more energy the days when it feels harder to reach those 1667 words. BUT try not to skip days thinking "I'll compensate for that by writing the double amount the next day", because that is usually harder than one think.
    That is all I can come up with right now. I'm going to participate this year too, by the way!
     
  7. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    id suggest trying to write some parts of the story early if you feel that you are going to drift off course, that way you can get a feel for it and if you find that you do drift off this early on, plan several outcomes and hope for the best
     
  8. GHarrison
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    GHarrison Senior Member

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    Oh, also, don't edit during November. Just write. Editing takes time and can reduce the word count which goes against the point of it all. Save editing for December :b
     
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  9. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I second this. I'm one of those people who partially edit as I go, but NaNo? I never edit. Just write. It can be hard, but your future self will thank you tremendously.

    I suppose my piece of advice is go where the book (and most importantly, characters) takes you. It's all well and good having a rigid plot and story in your head, but loosen up a little when writing; I found it helped mine a lot. :)
     
  10. tupbup
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    tupbup Member

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    I would say having a rough outline of what you want to write will always be a helpful tool, especially when you are writing such a long piece. Going off on tangents when you have other ideas should help you with your story more so than get you stuck. And if you do manage to find your characters in a place you can't get them out of or in a position that completely ruins your plot, stop. Start a new chapter or a new paragraph - suspend disbelief for a moment and drop them exactly where you need them to be in order to carry on writing. 30 days will soon fly by with only limited time to get the word count down. You can always go back and fill in the holes or rejig the scenes for the whole to make sense again. This might not be the best method for beating Nano but trust me, trying to replot half way through the month is hard. You end up wanting to rewrite what you have written already and spending time plotting instead of writing is a great way to get behind on your word count.

    It comes down to what you want out of Nano. If your main aim is to get down the 50k words my above idea might help you. If you want to write something you can work with afterwards you might need to think of something else.

    Good luck!
     
  11. Gilborn
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    Gilborn Member

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    This is exactly why I was advising you aim for 2500 words a day. That way if you can finish early you can then edit to some degree during November. However, the word count is the point and editing over the holiday break is always nice.
     
  12. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    wow, thanks for all the responses guys,
    i especially like the one of just skipping difficult bits and filling them in later
     
  13. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Edit: For some reason the forum does not display the text I've written underneath the quote (after the delimiter line)... D:<

    I have never done a NaNoWriMo myself (I didn't even know what it was until I found this thread), but here's what I think (and others have already suggested):
    - Aim towards always writing at least the 1667 words, but the more you write on one day the better. Some days will be tougher than others and it will be easy to come under stress should you one day not get more than a few hundred words down. If you've already compensated for this more than once it will make it easier to take to drawback.
    - Use a word editor that works for you, though it should have a word counter. Note though that some people can't relax properly when they have the word count visible (easy to think negative things like "I've written for an hour and only got 200 words down, I'll never make this"). Try to find which way fits you the best.
    - Don't over think things. It is easy to get stuck if you need everything you do to fit perfectly into your planned storyline. You can always come back later and trim the edges, after the month have ended.

    Never heard about that one before. Took a quick look at it, and it might just be the perfect program for me to use in school! (Since I can't use Scriven-er on my school laptop. Q10 is both small in size and 100% portable!)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  14. swetty
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    swetty New Member

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    Don't plan just one novel, but at least two, or one novel and several short stories. When I do my first Nano (two years ago), I planned so carefully that my novel ended at word 45000. I had to look for something else to write in the very last days.

    Remember, you write more words showing than telling. So don't show as much as you can: show everything.
     
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  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    2 days to go now... can you feel the excitement in the writing world? It feels like I've been waiting for months!
     
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