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This month, aspiring writers from around the world will be participating in National Novel Writing Month. Often abbreviated as NaNoWriMo, this fun writing event, which runs for the duration of November, challenges wannabe-authors to write 50,000 words in 30 days or less. Participation is open for all and free of charge.
If you’ve always wanted to put that one story in your head on paper, now is the time to do so! It’s not too late to get started. Whether you’d like to write a science-fiction novel or your own autobiography, NaNoWriMo offers just the right amount of challenge and inspiration to help you reach your goal. Follow these simple tips to get started on your literary journey!
By registering on the official National Novel Writing Month website, you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful month. Fill out your profile, create a tentative project title, and select your location. If you’re interested in extra motivation, look into local writing meetups that may be occurring in your area. Use the site’s resources, including pep-talks from famous authors, to inspire you and help you along the way. The
Tap Into Your Inner Excitement
Writing a novel should be a labor of love, not a dreaded daily chore! For this reason it’s important to pick a topic that you’re truly passionate about. Are you a fan of dark, dystopian tales? Have you always wanted to write a historical romance novel inspired by your own grandparents’ love story? To write an exciting 50,000 words, you must chose a concept that speaks to your soul. Don’t fall into the trap of picking a “marketable” novel idea that you think others will want to read. If you write for yourself, your passion will shine through, making your story one that’s truly worth reading.
Create a Rough Plot Outline
Despite what many of us falsely believe, very few authors have fully fleshed-out plot concepts before they begin writing. Most writers change course multiple times throughout the writing process, adding and dropping concepts, characters, and other plot elements.
Regardless, it is best to create a preliminary outline for your novel. If you’re struggling to come up with a plot, consider playing the “What if?” game. Take twenty or thirty minutes to think up as many hypothetical questions as you can. Write them down. One of these brain-tickling musings just might lead to an interesting plot for your story! Once you’ve got a plot idea and a notion of how you’ll begin, consider the main struggles and conflicts that will be central to your tale, as well as ideas for your novel’s ultimate climax. Though these ideas can certainly be modified and refined over time, starting with a one to two page plot summary is guaranteed to make your writing process run more smoothly.
Reflect On Main Characters & Supporting Players
Characters often begin to take on lives of their own as we begin writing. Even so, it is important to flesh out some of the most fundamental character traits that define your protagonists and antagonists before you dive head-first into the writing process. What makes your main character unique? What motivates him or her? What does he or she love and hate? What events from the past have shaped his or her character? How do these character traits impact behaviors today? Consider these aspects for both the heros and the villains of your story, as well as the supporting cast. Readers connect best with three-dimensional characters. Realistic characters will make your entire story feel more authentic.
Just Get Started!
Typing the first few words of your novel may be the trickiest part of the entire writing process. If you find yourself procrastinating or getting cold feet, it’s best to just dive in and begin writing something. To hit the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words, you’ll have to write an average of nearly 1,700 words a day! To accomplish this goal, make writing a daily habit. Find a local or long-distance accountability partner, preferably someone else who is also attempting NaNoWriMo. Bounce ideas off of your family and friends and set aside a specific amount of time each day to write. By doing so, you’ll be more likely to stick to your plan and accomplish your goals within 30 days.
If you’re struggling to come up with an idea for your writing project, consider trying to reach the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word goal in other creative ways! Try writing up detailed daily journal entries, or draft a few blog posts about your favorite recipes and travel destinations. Write down detailed recollections from your childhood or pen a few short stories and poems. Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down by writer’s block! Get started today.
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