All you brave souls who are embarking on a 30 day Hellenistic labor, to the deepest depths of Hades in the Name of National Novel Writing Month, will surely not survive the torturous trek.
You will encounter monsters, heroes, and ghosts as you make your way through, and wrestle with plot-bunnies and writer’s block. Many of your comrades will fail, and be left to haunt the tragic underground for all eternity. For those of you that buckle down and are as wonderfully ridiculous and determined as Hercules, I wish you well on this Hellish task. Those who succeed are the true warriors; overpowering the 50,000 word beast with nothing more than your own brute strength as that bastard bites and kicks and runs screaming into the hills.
But choose wisely, for once you begin on this month of writerly-zombification; you will not be allowed to leave and rejoin the living;
Since I have a fondness for slice of life stories (and hope to get better at writing them), I thought some people might appreciate this. :)
I’ve been asked to give some tips for first time NaNoWriMo-ers. I may have mentioned some of these before, but these are my top 10 NaNo tips whether it’s your first or your fiftieth time.
- Get as far ahead of the daily target as you can in week 1 while you’re running on adrenaline. Week 2 is tough, and having a good margin will help you enormously.
- Turn off the television. If you think you can write in front of the tv you are just kidding yourself.
- Treat yourself for reaching goals. Put your favourite chocolate bar, cake, beer, or whatever your vice is, on the table in front of you while you write. Don’t allow yourself to have it until you’ve written your daily word target.
- Be strict on yourself. Sit down and tell yourself you will write for 20mins, or 30mins, or an hour. Actually do it.
- Don’t do it alone. Whether you meet up with people in real life, or meet up with people online; make friends, encourage each other, motivate each other, compete against each other.
- Compete against your writing buddies. Each day, check the word counts of your writing buddies. Decide whose wordcount you’re going to try and beat, then do it.
- Take part in word wars (also known as word sprints.) Either meet up with friends or play with people online. Agree on an amount of time (20 mins, 1 hour, 24 hours) and at the end of that time, see who’s written the most words.
- Don’t take more than one day off in a row. Don’t feel guilty about taking the odd day off, but if you make it two days off it’ll be harder to get back into it. Three days, and you’ll really struggle.
- Trust your characters. Whether you’re an outliner or a discovery writer, you can often find your characters leading your story off in a direction you didn’t expect. Let them explore, you may find out that they have had a better idea than you did!
- Just keep going. Not everyone will hit their 50k target, but that doesn’t mean they’ve failed at all. By carrying on until the end of the month you have achieved an incredible feat no matter what your word count. The only true failure is giving up.
But my most important tip is to have fun! Good luck everyone!
Written fiction allows access to a character’s mind in a way that no other medium can. What someone thinks often gives a new perspective on events, can reveal aspects you hadn’t considered, or add depth to the way you perceive a character.
Often this is presented as a snapshot of the character’s current state of mind. This is what’s happening, and this is what the MC thinks about it. But what makes a character interesting isn’t just who they are or what they do, it’s how they get there.
And while ‘it’s the journey not the destination’ may seem obvious, knowing exactly which part of the journey is the interesting bit may not.
“I often said that writers are of two types.
There is the architect, which is one type.
The architect, as if designing a building, lays out the entire novel at a time. He knows how many rooms there will be or what a roof will be made of or how high it will be, or where the plumbing will run and where the electrical outlets will be in its room. All of that stuff before he drives the first nail. Everything is there in the blueprint.
And then there’s the garderner who digs the hole in the ground, puts in the seed and waters it with his blood and sees what comes up.
The garderner knows certain things. He’s not completely ignorant. He knows whether he planted an oak tree, or corn, or a cauliflower.
He has some idea of the shape but a lot of it depends on the wind and the weather and how much blood he gives it and so forth.
No one is purely an architect or a gardener in terms of writers, but many writers tend to one side or the other.
I’m very much more of a garderner.”
By Alicia Rasley:
This is a quick exercise designed to sketch out the major events of your novel. It only gives you a map— you have to make the drive yourself!
Get a kitchen timer or set your alarm. You’re going to free-write for three minutes on several questions. (If you want to cheat and write for five minutes on each, go ahead. Just be warned the exercise might take you an hour then.) In free-writing, you put your fingers to keyboard or pen to paper and write, without regard to grammar, spelling, sense, or organization, for a specified period of time. The trick is— you can’t stop till the bell rings. If you can’t think of anything to say, you just […]
A list of links that folks can add to! This was requested as a follow-up to Writing Characters of Color. Please be forewarned: I apologize in advance if I link to something that turns out to be wrong, or unhelpful. I try to skim everything to make sure it’s a good resource, but I don’t have the time or means to read every single thing word for word before I post this list. Please let me know if something is terrible - I will remove it straight away.
- Writing a Trans* character in Fiction
- Questioning Transphobia’s Cispeople are rubbish at writing trans* characters tag [So, don’t do any of that?]
- Writing Gay characters
- The best way to write a trans* character
- Trans Characters: An Open Letter To Spec Fic Writers
- Gay Characters, Straight Writers
- How to Write Gay Characters in your Mainstream Fiction
- Queering SFF - Writing Queer Languages of Power
- Authors say Agents try to “Straighten” Gay characters
- Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes in YA
- I’m here, I’m Queer, What the Hell do I read?
- Lambda Literary - LGBTQ literature, reviews, writing advice, etc
- Writing Lesbians when you’re not a Lesbian
- Suggested Rules for Cispeople writing Trans* characters
- GLAAD Media Guide
- Thinking Queer: A guide to writing LGBT characters for Roleplay
- Can a straight woman write gay characters and so on and so forth
60% Staring onto a blank screen
20% Drinking tea/coffee
10% Freaking out because WHAT THE HELL SHOULD I WRITE?
10% Procrastinating on the internet
5% Looking for music to write with
5% Actually writing.
That equals 110%
duh, we’re authors, not mathmagicians.
If you can stretch your imagination to believe in magic, fairy tales, dragons, and other mythical creatures but you can’t believe that there were PoC in medieval Europe you have a serious problem. Go sit in a corner and think about where your life went so very wrong.