Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Committing to writing a novel - some thoughts

I'm a veteran of NaNoWriMo - I've participated every year since 2011. I have also 'won' the challenge every time.

  1. Commit to writing every day. Set a minimum word goal per day and do your best to exceed it. To write 50,000 words in 30 days requires 1,666 words a day.
  2. A first draft is really just getting the basic story out of your head. There will be mistakes. Ignore them for now.
  3. It's all right to jump in your timeline to scenes that are more complete in your head. Just be sure to mark areas that you want to come back to.
       In Scrivener, I mark sections that I'm skipping or are really rough with a bright pink background.
       I mark sections that are okay but need to be moved at a later date with a blue background.
  4. Keep writing every day until you have completed the first draft.
      A well known phenomena is that at some point, you'll be convinced that your novel is the most pointless one to ever exist. KEEP WRITING. Stephen King threw Carrie in the trash at one point - his wife convinced him to keep with it.
  5. Set the novel to the side when the first draft is done. You need to let the first frenzy of writing calm down.
  6. Now, you have to commit to editing the novel. Remember, it was a first draft. There will be problems; those scenes that you skipped, things that need to move, things that need to change. Word counts are no longer as important - promise yourself to spend at least some amount of time per day editing.
  7. You need to remember to edit the entire novel. Don't just polish the first chapter and call the job done. 
  8. Once you have done a basic edit, you can let others read your work. Get feedback and do the changes.
  9. Once you have done all of this, congratulations - you have achieved novel. :D