Pencil to Paper

The Daily Life of a Compulsive Writer

NaNo Tips: Wrapping Up November 25, 2012

Filed under: Writing — katblogger @ 6:43 PM
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Today I verified my NaNoWriMo win and printed off the certificate, very pleased to see that it had an organic chemistry theme.


Some of you may not be this lucky. Don’t despair! There are five more days to go, and I know what it’s like to be typing down to the last few hours.

If you’re getting desperate, forget elegant plotting. Forget your outline, your dreams of perfect prose, a vision of a flawless first draft. Forget your characters if you have to. Just come up with something and write.

Sometimes all it takes is throwing in something completely crazy to jump start your imagination. Here are a few suggestions to spur you on to word count victory.

1.  A mysterious stranger arrives

It’s late in the third act of your book, but there’s a new player on the stage. He or she knows a secret one of your characters would kill to stop from being revealed. Or maybe he/she shares a messy past with your quietest, most forgettable side character. Perhaps he/she is on the run and needs help – and for some reason one of your characters agrees. Why? Or, better yet, he/she unzips their jacket to reveal a ticking device on their chest and whispers, “Help.”

Adding in another character can throw everything off kilter, but you can feed off that chaos and pull out lots of very fun – if random – words.

2. A crisis erupts

You know what can give you words? Things going wrong. Because mishaps and misadventures ensuing means a lot of people scrambling around, freaking out, and trying to make things right.

A nasty stomach bug infects everyone. A snowstorm blankets the town in two feet of ice and snow. The next day several important objects are missing, but there are no footprints to be seen. Maybe your character finds a scar they don’t remember getting on their arm, or the device on the mysterious stranger’s chest does whatever it was programmed to do.

Whatever happens, make it big, make it messy, and make it vital. It has to be fixed in a very wordy, complicated, and drawn out way.

3. A secret is revealed

Everyone has secrets. If your character doesn’t have one, give him or her one. Now. Make it horrible. Make it embarrassing. Make it something they would really hate to have revealed.

Then reveal it in a really awkward, public way.

People will get upset. They’ll scream. Cry. Fight. And you can wade through the bloodshed and rake up the delicious, delicious words.

Did I give you any ideas? I hope so. Now run along and hit 50000 words. I believe in you.


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