During the month of November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, with a goal to write 50,000 words on a new novel. I tried this challenge last year and didn’t make it very far, but since I’ve met this Autumn with a lot more writing direction and purpose, I wanted to try again. Much to my excitement, I was able to complete NaNo this year (with a total word count of 50,086 words at completion). While I completed the goal of NaNo, I still have more writing to do before the first draft is completed; my next goal is to finish draft 1 by the end of January 2015.
My novel (currently unnamed) follows the story of a teen-aged Egyptian boy who leaves his country in the Biblical exodus of the Israelites and then accompanies the Israelites in their journeying through the wilderness.
Writing 50,000 words in a month was first of all a lot of work, but it was also exciting and fun. In addition to that, it helped me learn several things about my writing style. The following points were my four most helpful tips and tricks for getting words written:
- Update the word count tracker and study the progress graph. I don’t think I ever wrote more than about 300 words without updating the word count on my progress graph (except for the time I was in the car without wi-fi, but you can see why that had to be the exception). Following every update, I would thoroughly restudy the progress stats and mentally plan out a goal for reaching my next two hundred words of writing.
- Pumpkin spice coffee. This helped me not freeze in this cold autumn weather and helped me be motivated to write…however that works. Somehow I always drank most all of my coffee before I wrote any words, but still..it was one of the inspiring points that helped me complete NaNo! ;)
- Start every chapter with the main character waking up in the morning. Somehow this happened- not good writing technique but a very convenient way to know how to start a chapter when I had no inspiration for anything more original.
- Intense personal introspection for every important character. When starting a new chapter with the previously-mentioned method did not increase my word count enough, it was time to move onto the next and most-proven method of my writing: a deep and thorough look inside most every character’s brain. I know the fact that I used this technique means I have a lot of editing ahead of me. ;)
I learned some other (more useful) lessons from NaNo, but those shall be saved for upcoming posts. In the meantime, who else participated in NaNo? How did it go for you? :)