Saturday, November 28, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 28

#NaNoWriMo Day 28

Feeling a little worried are we, sunshine? But some darned good ideas might just be springing up for your story in the midst of your desperation, huh?

Get used to it. Sometimes, that just happens. Some people work better when under a tight and pressing deadline. However the magic has to work for you, that's what you need to do. Working under a variety of situations will help you grow as a writer and find what works best for you.

Friday, November 27, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 27

#NaNoWriMo Day 27

There's a reason we have "rules" in writing/storytelling. Wanting to break the rules is fine, but if you are clueless about the rules to start with...there's your starting point. Too often, writers want to "break rules" without understanding the true reasons the rules are THERE or how they work in the first place. Sometimes what a writer sees as visionary is, in retrospect, a pretty dumb decision that can negatively impact the reader's experience. (Not what you want to do.)

Example: There is a reason the "three act" structure works, and has worked literally for a couple of thousand years in storytelling. Because it WORKS. Trying to usurp that structure without first understanding WHY it works is like trying to build a house without understanding important principles like load-bearing walls and foundation requirements.

In other words, don't "fix" what isn't broken. Instead of trying to rewrite "rules," learn the rules and then learn how to make your writing sparkle to the point that it renders the rules irrelevant.

I mean, really, if you had a teenager who said they wanted to "reinvent" how people drive, would you turn them loose with your car, or wait until they showed enough maturity to understand that the "rules of the road" are there for a darn good reason?


Thursday, November 26, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 26

#NaNoWriMo Day 26

Instead of beating yourself up because you're "losing" NaNo and not making the word count you wanted, how about feeling thankful that you are able to do this in the first place. Perspective. Beating yourself up for what you don't accomplish does no good at all. Celebrate what you have done, and strive to keep moving forward.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 25

#NaNoWriMo Day 25

It writes the words upon the page, or else it gets the hose of...rage...

I know it doesn't make sense. But you're in the homestretch. It's so close you can TASTE it, right? Remember that when you finish this book, that puppy gets EDITED, NOT uploaded to KDP/Kobo/Nook/Smashwords/etc. Right?


Don't make me get the hose, kiddies. Don't make me get the hose. Writing your book is the easy part. Seriously. Don't let that discourage you, either. You've done something most people who "want" to do never even start doing.

But don't rush it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 24

#NaNoWriMo Day 24

Do all your characters "sound" the same? While writing in convoluted dialects is generally frowned upon because it's, well, annoying as frak to read, you can still make your characters sound different from each other. If you take away all dialogue and action tag attributes, can you tell which character is speaking from "listening" to them? No? Fix that. Remember that dialogue absolutely should NOT be "proper" English, unless that's really how the character talks. (And that can be part of their personality.) Real people speak in contractions, incomplete fragments, made-up words--they don't sound like an English Lit thesis paper.

Monday, November 23, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 23

#NaNoWriMo Day 23

Still hanging in there, aren't you? Just 7 more days. Don't panic! Remember, just because you don't get your book "done" doesn't mean you've "lost." If you got SOMETHING done, that's still more than the people who say, "I want to write a book...someday," and then never get started. You've got a start. That's HUGE. Keep going!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 22

#NaNoWriMo Day 22

In all the craziness that is NaNo, don't forget to take care of YOU. A car can't run on an empty tank. Take time to read, watch something on TV, take a long shower, whatever. Are you eating well? Are you drinking enough water? Exercising or at least standing and stretching? Walking around? Don't forget that YOU are the machine. Take care of it.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 21

#NaNoWriMo Day 21

Are you stuck in your plot? Does it feel boring? Does it feel soft and mushy like a banana your toddler got hold of in the grocery cart? Yeah, that's normal. Just write through it. Sometimes, that's all you can do on a first draft. Remember, the mission is to get it DONE, not get it perfect. You can edit the snot out of it later. Just keep writing.

Friday, November 20, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 20

#NaNoWriMo Day 20

Are you stressing over your word count? DON'T. As long as you're making progress every day, that's all that matters. Just keep writing!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 19

#NaNoWriMo Day 19

Don't give up. Writers write. Even if you think it's utter shite that you're writing, KEEP writing. Don't give up. Pick a different spot in the book and try writing that scene. Anything. Forward momentum. Keep. Writing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 18

#NaNoWriMo Day 18

Turn off Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet in general. Set the timer on your phone for 15 minutes and WRITE. You'll be surprised how much you can get done in a 15-minute sprint!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 17

#NaNoWriMo Day 17

Some editing time later can be saved if you keep this tip in mind: think vividly. Instead of writing, "He came into the room," substitute something else for that weak word came. Walked, strolled, ran, snuck -- words that will more accurately portray what you mean. Also, watch out for sneaky little words. "He stood up. She sat down." Instead, "He stood. She sat." The direction is obvious. It tightens your writing.

Monday, November 16, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 16

#NaNoWriMo Day 16

Don't worry about what you think you "should" do in your book, follow where the characters take you. Too many "stuck" plots are due to the writer ignoring their characters. On the flip side of that, don't be so worried about "breaking the mold" that you write a hot mess, either. There's a reason the three-act, rising action-climax-falling action pattern works and has worked for literally a thousand years. Instead of worrying about your own expectations, simply listen to the characters, to the story, and follow them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 15

#NaNoWriMo Day 15

Guess what? You're HALFWAY THERE! Keep up the good work! Even if you don't meet your word count, remember this is more about forming a writing habit to help you meet your long-term goals. If all you do is sit down and write a couple of sentences a day, that's still more than any person who says they want to write a book "some day" and never do it. Good job, you!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 14

#NaNoWriMo Day 14

Don't worry if your story isn't "perfect." There is no such thing. It's one of the lies your subconscious tries to tell you to sabotage your progress. If you have serious doubts about something, just insert a marker--I use a [[ because I'll NEVER organically use that within a book--to flag it. Later, after NaNo is done, you can do a "find" search on it and go back to it and figure it out. Don't let it derail your progress because you're obsessing about it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 13

#NaNoWriMo Day 13

If you're writing a mystery or a suspense book, or any other kind of story where the plot has some sort of central mystery/problem/issue to solve/resolve, start with THAT. Even if it's only to sketch out the problem in outline form. Know what caused it/who did it, what fixes/resolves/solves it. Summarize it. (Heck, you can even count it as part of your NaNo word count. I won't tell anyone, I promise.) If you don't know how the issue works itself out, you'll get stuck and write yourself into a hole every time, or waste countless hours trying to figure out how to resolve it. Once you know who/how/what takes care of the problem, you can work backward, at least mentally, to try to resolve it. Don't argue with me about you can't write out of order. I'm not telling you to do that. I'm telling you to make sure this big THING is worked out in your plot before you get to that point. Otherwise, you'll find yourself sitting there and scratching your head. (Which is now completely bald because you ripped your hair out.) Play the story forward in your mind like a movie or TV show. "Watch" it happening. Once you've worked the massive plot THING out, you'll find your writing goes a LOT easier. Although, if you're like me and can write out of order, write your ending/problem/mystery resolution and work backward.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 12

#NaNoWriMo Day 12

Does a scene appear weak or missing something to you? Change which character's POV you write it from. Even if it's a first-person book that only happens from one POV. You don't have to keep it later, but it might give you valuable insight to what's going on that you can use to rework things for your "final" version.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 11

#NaNoWriMo Day 11

There is no such thing as writer's block. Pick a different scene and start writing. Write your ending. Write a love letter from your main character to his or her main squeeze. Forget the bullshit about "being blocked." You can write SOMETHING. Even if you end up not keeping it later, just KEEP WRITING.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 10

#NaNoWriMo Day 10

Word count met or not, you are a third of the way through this month. You should celebrate that fact, even if only with a quiet, "Yay, me!" at your desk. Many people never get as far as writing down a single word. You're WRITING. That's a start, and a damned good one. Keep it up!

Monday, November 9, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 9

#NaNoWriMo Day 9

Your characters are not you. They might not make the same choices you'd make, or even ones you like/want them to make. You need to follow your characters and stay true to them, not shove them into plot constraints just to fit your plot.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 8

#NaNoWriMo Day 8

If you're stuck on a scene between characters. write NOTHING but dialogue. No stage direction, no action tags, no exposition or narrative, just dialogue. Follow the characters and write down whatever they say. Sometimes, the characters will go in directions you didn't expect and tell you stuff.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 7

#NaNoWriMo Day 7

You don't need to write your book "in order." There is no law saying you can't write the scenes you see the most clearly in your mind before you write the rest of the book. Sometimes, the easiest way to write a story is to write the strongest scenes and then fill in the middles.

Friday, November 6, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 6

#NaNoWriMo Day 6

Have you backed up your work lately? Not just to a cloud service, but to redundant external sources, like thumb drives or hard drives? Also, find out if your writing software has a CTRL+S or similar keyboard shortcut and use it. A LOT.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 5

#NaNoWriMo Day 5

Remember that even the most evil of "bad guys" in a story is the hero in his own narrative. Cardboard characters are as flat as the cliches you base them on. Likewise, "perfect" protagonists are harder for the reader to love. Give them flaws, but don't make them assholes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 4

#NaNoWriMo Day 4

If you get stuck writing your story, imagine THE worst thing that could happen to the character, no matter how fantastical or incongruous it might be to the plot. Then multiply it by a thousand, and do THAT to your character. Be sadistic and twisted. You might not keep it later, but it could also give you a totally different direction for your story that you never considered. If nothing else, you might find out something about your character that you didn't know before.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 3

#NaNoWriMo Day 3

Thou Shalt Not Compare Thyself to Other Writers and Their Progress

Every writer writes at their own speed and in their own way.

That being said, if you have a DVR, hit PAUSE right now and write three sentences.

That's it. Three. If you have to, type it into an e-mail on your phone and e-mail it to yourself.

There, see? You DID write something today. Good job, you!

Monday, November 2, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 2

#NaNoWriMo Day 2

You will NOT edit your NaNoWriMo project while you write. Repeat after me: I WILL WRITE THE WORDS.

Editing comes later. Much later. After it's shoved away in a drawer and congealed.

ONLY once you get to that point do you get to edit.

And for now, I present to you Chuck Wendig and editing. (But remember, do NOT edit it NOW. WRITE it NOW.)

Image Courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Sunday, November 1, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 1

I'm going to try to blog once a day something to help my NaNoWriMo peeps out. (This should be interesting.)

#NaNoWriMo Day 1

Bob Ross wasn't just a painter, he was sort of a Zen master in many ways. Here are a bunch of great quotes that aren't just applicable to painting, but to writing and even to life in general.

Here Are 50 Bob Ross Quotes That Will Make Today Better

Fitbit for Wordage #NaNoWriMo

The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to get you into the habit of writing. Like walking and exercising and all that. So think of these as Fitbits for your writing.

If you're doing NaNoWriMo this year and looking for some word counters, here's a list of some to help you out:


I blogged about NaNoWriMo over on my blog today.