NaNo Odds and Ends

The NaNo forums are up and busy. So many threads! So much to think about, laugh about and wonder about.

How do you reward yourself when you reach 50,000 words? I keep writing until the book is finished or time runs out. The book is the reward.

How do you punish yourself if you don’t make 50,000 word? Huh? I can’t imagine being so driven or something like NaNo being so important that failure merits punishment.

How many words should there be in a chapter, and how many chapters should my book have? A chapter should have as many words as it needs, and a book should have as many chapters as it needs. In other words, when you get to the end, stop.

What are your favorite tricks for upping your word count? Only one trick, alas. Write what needs to be written, whether it’s rounding out a character or filling gaps in the plot.

How do you get to know your characters? Umm. Spend time with them, maybe? Figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing and why they’re doing it exactly that way. Watch how they interact with the other characters, how they react to what’s going on in their lives.

Outlines kill creativity, don’t they? No they don’t, unless you treat them like rule books to be followed exactly as they’re laid down. Digital outlining isn’t anything like the horrors we endured in school. They’re flexible, and they allow you to be flexible. They’re supposed to function as guides to keep you from getting lost, not chain you to a straight line down the middle of the road.

7 thoughts on “NaNo Odds and Ends

  1. Reward- Yep, “Mission Accomplished!” is my ultimate reward too.

    Punishment- The end of the world. So far, so good.

    Words / Chapters- No idea on this one. I’ll go with your answer.

    Word Count Tricks- Judging from my last NaNo, bar scenes. My characters like to get their drink on.

    Know Characters- Last year’s NaNo I wrote based on real people, with the exception of the MC. It was only later I found out the MC was actually me. That was sobering. She kept it hidden so well, until the pile of clues could no longer be ignored.

    Outlines Kill- My creativity is undead. MUHAHAHAHA

    1. Hmm, is there some deep psychological significance in having kept yourself a secret from yourself until the very last minute?

      Now, there’s an image–your creativity shambling around, mouth hanging open, maybe a little bloody drool.

      1. “deep psychological significance”?

        Yeah I think so. My guess is she kept it a secret so I could write freely about myself without censoring or cringing. Funny thing, I look back at her character profiles and dialogue and it’s so obvious now. I wouldn’t have knowingly written myself that honestly. My vaulted stuff came to the surface and popped into my manuscript because it wasn’t “me,” it was “her.”

        Next time I drool while writing I’ll check for blood. lol That is, if I drooled. Which I don’t. Not me, not even once. *eyes the ceiling*

  2. I’m with you on all of those! ๐Ÿ™‚
    … Well, except maybe the tricks to get more words in. But usually I only discover it’s what I’m doing afterwards when it turns out that I went off on a tangent. XD

    1. From what I’ve seen on the NaNo forums, I’d guess that most of the people who are resorting to artificial means of adding to the word count aren’t serious writers and don’t have stories that are strong enough to be developed into novels. I can’t imagine anyone who plans to revise and edit a first draft into something publishable wasting their time and energy by eliminating contractions, for instance, to pump up word count.

  3. “eliminating contractions, for instance, to pump up word count”

    I’d say that’s different than writing bar scenes. Because my MC is alcoholic, she frequented bars, and I couldn’t skip over that. Those bar trips adding to my word count was a bonus, trick or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

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