Category Archives: Writing Advice
With only 4 days left to the start of NaNoWriMo 2012 I wonder how many fellow Wrimo’s can sense the icy fingers of panic start to slither around their creativity.
Maybe the calm before the storm of words is giving you second thoughts about your story boat. Is the idea of setting sail on a sea of words, plots and characters too much to handle? Perhaps you’re starting to rethink the sturdiness of your boat – is it too flimsy for the high seas? Is it a vast cruise liner packed with random characters and a thousand sub-plots all screaming for attention?
Are you worried that at some point your vessel will crash into an iceberg? In this metaphor that’s the equivalent of The Lifeless River Bed of Despondency and Meh.
Fears and doubts about starting your NaNo project are perfectly normal. The hardest part is casting off those guide ropes and pulling away from the jetty. Those first few words, and indeed that first page, can feel like paddling a rubber dingy across the gulf of space.
Would it put you at ease to know that I’ve edited the first line of this post a dozen times because I was worried it didn’t sound punchy and attention grabbing?
There is a cure for NaNo panic, dear blog reader, and it works in harmony with Embracing the Icky Sticky.
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a NoWriMo virgin, sooner or later you’ll probably reach a point I call The Lifeless River Bed of Despondency and Meh. This is where the initial adrenaline rush has driven your Storymobile across the rich and vivid fictional landscape only to find it splutter and grind to a halt. Why does this happen?
There are many reasons, for example:
- Your characters may have reached a dead-end.
- Your plot that started out so well is suddenly too big and cumbersome, or you’ve realised it has less substance than you thought.
- There are so many sub plots they’re eating each other alive and your story & characters are suffering.
- Perhaps you’ve reached the end ahead of time, or realise that the end is still so far in the distance it’s like a mirage you’ll never reach.
It’s at this point you’re likely to panic.
But that’s the worst thing to do.
Don’t sit there revving the engine, worrying about the little things like editing because it’ll lead you backwards. “Hmm, if I just tweak this bit here…and change that chapter…and maybe add another character in that awful scene…yeah, maybe I can avoid The Lifeless River Bed of Despondency and Meh.”
No! When you’re rushing through November’s NaNo event, editing is a bad way to revive your floundering Storymobile. There’s no going back, not until you cross that finish line and sup from the Hero’s Cup of NaNo 50K Goodness. After you can edit until your fingers fall off!
Going back is bad. Gotcha. But how do I haul my Storymobile out of the drudge?
NaNoWriMo 2012 is almost upon us. For those who’ve never heard of it, let me enlighten you. NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month - click this thing to visit their website, is a competition of sorts whereby all aspiring writers are invited to write their brains out for 30 days in November.
Maybe you’ve been kicking around a story for a while, even years, but never thought of tackling it. Well now’s your chance, dear blog reader! Grab it while you can and don’t let go until that word count hits the big five-oh-oh-oh-oh!
Ooh, okay, you got my attention, now what?
Simples! Follow the link above, click the Start Here link, register your stuff with NaNoWriMo, confirm your account via an email, then get yourself a profile and give your novel a name. The fun starts on 1st November but before then it’s probably worth stocking up on supplies, more on that in a moment. First some interesting statistics on NaNoWriMo 2011!
36,843 cranked out 50K words and crossed the finish line at midnight November 30th. I was one of them with 84,000 words of an incomplete novel. Big sideways smiley face for me! These lucky, hard-working writing maniacs were entered into the NaNoWriMo Hall of Fame, thereby gaining the elusive NaNoWriMo Certificate of Awesome Writerness!
(I gotta say writing NaNoWriMo over and over never gets any easier without spelling it wrong. Trust me, the spell check doesn’t like NaNoWriMo, but it equally dislikes NaNowiMp, NaOnWeiMo, NaNiWrMop…you get the picture!)
These hero’s of the written word started out as mechanics, plumbers, estate agents, factory workers and traffic wardens, and yes they were allowed to enter. Every one of them walked away novelists – life long members of Imaginationland.