Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bits of Advice for a New Nanowriter

Lynn Veihl is a fantastic writer who has some of the best tidbits available out there on the net. She blogged about NaNo the other day and I had to include it here. I have taken some of her post, the full article is available HERE.


Twenty Bits of Advice from a Pro for the New NaNo'er
(plus links)

1. Unless you're writing about meteorologists, tornado hunters or the inexplicable onset of an ice age, resist the urge to start your novel with a report on the current climate conditions. If we want a forecast, we'll watch The Weather Channel.

(Great Beginnings by Robert J. Sawyer)

2. If the only way you can describe your story is to say, "It's just like The DaVinci Code/Starship Troopers/The Hunt for Red October/Go, Dog, Go/The Flame and the Flower/The Stand/Murder on the Orient Express/Twilight -- only better" you might want to try out another idea.

(Top 4 Ways to Know Your Idea is Novel-Worthy by By Ginny Wiehardt)

4. If you plan a writing session that will last for more than an hour, set a kitchen timer for 60 minutes. When it dings, get up, walk away from the computer, and take a five to ten minute break. When you get back, reset it for sixty minutes.

(Five Tips for Finding Writing Time by Michael Stelzner)

5. You don't need to check your wordcount two hundred times per writing session. It's not going to change that much (unless you type really, really fast.) Check it when you start writing, and again when you finish. Feel free to show off your progress on your blog or web site, though. I love seeing those wordcount widgets.

(NaNoWriMo's official Word Count Widgets page)

6. If possible, skip eating where you write, or writing where you eat. Have snacks and meals on your breaks away from your writing space. The only thing you should be doing in your writing space is writing.

(American Dietetic Association's Healthy Eating in Your Home Office)

8. If at any time you feel seriously burned out, take a day off and do something physical. Go for a walk. Work out at the gym. Clean the house. Garden. Anything that takes your mind off the story and allows you some breathing room. It's better to lose one day of writing than flame out entirely halfway through.

(How to Avoid Writer Burnout by Misti Sandefur)

9. If you can't think of what to write, or you feel a block of any kind forming, tag that section of the manuscript with a bracketed notation of what you needed to write there (i.e., [Jane tells John about her STD test results here]) and move on to the next scene.

(How To Avoid Writers' Block ~ Give Yourself Permission To Write Badly by Rhonda Leigh Jones)

10. If a good name for your character eludes you, give him/her/it a temporary working name with an unusual spelling, like Xerox or Zorro or Jabba. Then, when you do think of a good name, you can do a "Replace-All" without changing all the other words that contain the same letters as your temporary name.

('s Random Name Generator)

12. If you're thirsty, drink chilled water instead of sugary and/or caffeinated beverages. Avoid energy drinks that make you hyper. When I get tired of water, I switch to Crystal Light. Their peach tea is my favorite.

(Crystal Light Citrus Brunch Punch recipe is also delicious)

13. When you finish a scene or a chapter, take a minute to stop, stand up and stretch.

(Stress Reduction Exercises)

14. If your protagonist has the same occupation, physical description, love interests, problems and ambitions as you, you might want to rethink the character.

(Scriptwriting ~ Crafting Your Protagonist by T. Robinson)

15. If your antagonist bears an alarming resemblance to your ex, and is fated to die a slow, lingering and quite horrible death, you might want to rethink your character, and maybe consider making an appointment with a therapist.

(Peter Anspach's classic The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord)

16. Instead of thinking "This will never get published" try "This time I will finish it."

(Positive thinking: Practice this stress management skill from the

17. If possible, take all of the published books out of your immediate writing space, including that wonderful novel by your favorite author that you keep under your desk to pick up and skim whenever you feel blocked. I know, it's hard to give up the wubby book, but when you write, you should be the only author in the room.

(Finding Your Voice by Christopher Meeks)

19. Avoid backreading before you begin writing. If you need a reminder of where you left off, write a short note of where you are on your notepad after you finish writing each day, or print out the last paragraph of what you wrote and leave that beside the computer.

(PBW's Eff the Editing LB&LI workshop)

20. At some point you will probably think it sucks. Every time I sit down to write, I think it sucks. The difference between you and me is, I don't listen to that whiny, impossible-to-satisfy bitch. I kick her out of my head immediately and go to work. I let her come back later, when I'm editing.

(PBW's Writing Triage)

On towards Saturdays Challenge!! One day to go Ladies and Gents...


Diane said...

"You should be the only author in the room."

Mmm, but what about when we have a Nanowrimo write-in?

Seriously, if I move all the books out of my writing room, where am I going to put them? It's probably easier for me to take my laptop to the dining room table where there are no books to taunt me. But that's the thing: other people's books don't taunt me. They give me something to aspire to (or it its a crap book and I don't tend to keep those), something to do better than.

It's worth checking out the full article for the 20 points. There are some good ones in there.

Kiki said...

Great article with some very important points.
Thanks for sharing!