Author Amber R. Duell is best known for her title FRAGILE CHAOS, reviewed by The School Library Journal. Early 2019 will bring her first novel with The Parliament House, DREAM KEEPER, first in her DARK DREAMER TRILOGY!
Today, she visits Parliament's blog to deliver last minute tips before aspiring writers try their luck with NANOWRIMO!
There is one more week until NaNo begins. I repeat, one more week. That screech you hear is me realizing I haven’t done a single thing to prep for it.
(For those of you who may not know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and is when writers attempt to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1stand 30th. Check it out: https://nanowrimo.org/)
I’m going to be a rebel this year as I write the third Dark Dreamer book, meaning I’m going to start it as soon as I’m ready instead of waiting until midnight on November 1st. (Time’s a tickin’ for my deadline!) My goal is to finish the first draft by the middle of the month, but my first drafts are always between 20-30k words so it’s possible. The rest of the month will be spent editing/beefing it up. With any luck, I’ll still hit 50k!
So, today I’m going to share with you some last minute tips. Whether you’ve just decided to join or have slacked off like me, hopefully this will give you a bit of a head start.
First, of course, decide which story you want to write.
If you’re anything like me, there are multiple ideas floating around in your head. Pick the one that calls to you the most—not the one you think will sell the best. You’re going to be spending a lotof time with this story in the upcoming 30 days so this is extremely important to keep yourself going.
Now, where does your story start? Where does it end? What are 3-5 key scenes that happen in between?
Everyone is different. If you’re a plotter, fill in all the scenes between those things. If you’re a pantser, I still recommend having some idea of what you want to happen because you don’t want to write yourself into a corner with only 30 days to escape it. (Don’t delete anything if that happens! Keep going and edit it all out later as if the wrong turn never happened.)
Personally, I’m a plantser so going in with the beginning, end, and key scenes is important to keep me on track. If I didn’t have those things, my characters would end up in Timbuktu eating s’mores for three chapters.
Head to the store for supplies. Need snacks while writing? Almost out of notebook paper? How about pens? Stock up! There’s nothing worse than getting into the zone only to be pulled out of it by lack of sticky notes.
While you’re out, grab yourself some rewards!
I do every 5,000 words, but pick what will motivate you the best. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. My rewards are usually a night off from writing or hitting up Redbox, but you know what will work for you. You deserve it! Plus, it will help keep you going.
I saved my favorite tip for last! Playlists and/or Pinterest boards!
Sometimes you need help getting into a certain mood. You only have 30 days so there’s a chance you won’t have time to ‘feel’ a scene before you write it. What works better than listing to an appropriate song while looking at some inspirational photos? (Okay, maybe for you, something completely different, but…)
Try to capture the vibe of your story with the songs/images instead of getting caught up on whether or not it’s exactlywhat something is in your book.
For example, my Pinterest board for Dream Keeper has a photo of a little brunette girl sleeping with gold stars around her head. Nora is blonde, the Sandman’s ‘color’ is silver, and he doesn’t sprinkle stars around her, but it caught the whimsical feel so well! Nora goes to sleep every night desperate to see the stars in the Dream Realm. It wasn’t accurate, but it fit perfectly. Every time I see it, I connect with Nora.
Anything you can use to jump start the creative juices, add it!
Hopefully some of this was useful to you! I wish you all the best on your project! Remember—write now, edit later. Don’t look back until it’s over. Breathe. You’ve got this!