As you may have heard (in this interview or this one) my next book is about a young novelist. She’s eighteen, newly published and moved to New York City, and is a product of NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is also known as National Novel Writing Month, and is a grand tradition in which a few hundred thousand people attempt to write a book in thirty days. (Actually, they try to write several hundred thousand books. They aren’t all working on the same one. Duh.)

Alas, I finished Afterworlds only a few weeks ago, so it won’t come out until next October. So for next NaNoWriMo, I intend to produce vast quantities of writing advice posts for all of you. (Wondrous altruism or clever marketing? You decide.) But how does that help you brave NaNoWriMoers this year?

It does not.

Luckily, back in 2009, Justine and I switched off in creating a whole month’s worth of writing advice posts, one each day. And unlike tech advice and TV criticism, writing advice never gets old. So here’s a handy set of links for your NaNoWriMoing edification.

The odd-numbered posts are mine, and the evens are Justine’s.

Best of luck to you all!

Nano Tip #1: Dialog Spine

NaNo Tip #2: The Zen of First (Zero) Drafts

NaNo Tip #3: Dialog Spine Analysis

NaNo Tip #4: Word Count is Not Everything

NaNo Tip #5: Write Your Way Out

NaNo Tip #6: Emergency Unstucking Techniques

NaNo Tip #7: Stealing from Chandler

NaNo Tip #8: Square Brackets

NaNo Tip #9: Meta Documents

NaNo Tip #10: Don’t Skip the Tricky Bits

NaNo Tip #11: Passages of Disbelief

NaNo Tip #12: Turn the Internet Off

NaNo Tip #13: Pace Charts

NaNo Tip #14: Procrastination Can Be Your Friend

NaNo Tip #15: Take the Day Off

NaNo Tip #16: Edit As You Go

NaNo Tip #17: Making Writing a Habit

NaNo Tip #18: Breaking with Stereotypes

NaNo Tip #19: Read Out Loud

NaNo Tip #20: Don’t Wait for the Muse to Strike

NaNo Tip #21: Writers Re-Read

NaNo Tip #22: Read Bad Books

NaNo Tip #23: Change Your Brain

NaNo Tip #24: Writing While White

NaNo Tip #25: Read it Backwards

NaNo Tip #26: Giving Thanks

NaNo Tip #27: Word Clouds

NaNo Tip #28: Take Care of Yourself

NaNo Tip #29: Finish Everything

NaNo Tip #30: Rewriting

14 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo

  1. Yay! A post! And I have read all of that writing advice before. I have a bookmark to it on my iPad. It is because of that that I have a rainbow-colored writing hat 😉

  2. This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo, so I am extremely excited! I read your pep talk from 2012, which was amazing! I truly wish you had been a Pep Talker for this year!

    -M.J. <3

  3. OMG!!!! First post, just finished the last days. It ROCKED, but wasn’t nearly as fexcellent or fawesome as peeps, or the ugglies series, which, by the way, was fawesome.

    I hope I get to read blue moon soon, I can’t seem to get a hold of it at my library. My school library has a shelf dedicated to your books, but didn’t include the midnighters series on it.

  4. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year (due to the fact that it intimidates me and I’m already working on a novel), but I’m reading these tips anyway. I’ve read eight so far, and all I can say is: Served Cold is SO GOOD! I am instantly in love with it. Dialogue comes most naturally to me, so the thought of writing a kick-ass story using nothing but (not even dialogue tags) is rather appealing.

    Thoughts on Served Cold (~spoilers!~): On the first read, I naturally thought that the dead one was a boy and the live one was a girl. On the second reading, I consciously switched the genders just to see how it sounded. IMO, the dead one could be either gender (though I like boy better), but it was hard to make the live one a boy.
    Also, I totally did not get the affair aspect of it (but that does make a lot of sense), or the fact that the dead one is planning the live one’s demise (whether it be conscious or not), especially the line about ‘Don’t let me go down there alone.’ On the second and third reads, I got a seriously creepier vibe (which works, considering it was for Halloween), and I got chills (in a good way)! It’s my new favorite short story, and personally, I think it’s great dialogue-only. How there are so many layers to it without once info-dumping was really awesome!

  5. Hi Scott

    Just wanted to thank you and Justine for the thoughtful, inspiring and reassuring Nanowrimo tips you posted in 2009, which I have just discovered. They’ve been extremely useful. Thanks for your generosity.


  6. @9: It’s the example story for dialogue spines in Tip #1. Go read it, it’s awesome. (And then read Tip #3 to get even more out of it.)

  7. @Roxanne – well, for Spanish exam I have got to make a book, a collection of short stories. So I read “Served Cold”, and because I really loved it, I translated it to put it in the book. Only hiding the genders doesn’t really work in Spanish, so I had to make the dead one a boy and the live one a girl. I think it sounds better that way, it didn’t feel so right the other way around.

  8. @11: I totally agree about the genders.
    English has a LOT of problems (exceptions to every “rule” and whatnot), but the fact that some pronouns can stay ambiguous is kind of cool sometimes. I don’t think many languages have that.

  9. Gotta love NaNoWriMo. Did it last year and finished two novels (one in prep, one just after the deadline). The only major problem is not stopping to edit every time you reread a paragraph and decide that it’s total crap.

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