NaNoWriMo Preparations!

As we approach the month of November, many of you are no doubt getting ready for National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo! In this yearly ritual, tens of thousands of bookish folk declare their intent to write a whole novel in a mere thirty days. (Or at least 50,000 words, which is certainly on the way.) Doing NaNoWriMo is a great way to take a stab at finally writing that novel in your head, or to test your own discipline, or simply to understand better what your favorite novelists go through on a daily basis.

Thinking about doing it yourself? Go here for NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program, and sign up!

Two years ago, Justine and I did a whole month of writing advice posts in honor of all you brave NaNoWriMoers. We’re too busy to repeat the effort this year, but below is a handy set of links to all our advice of 2009.

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

Best of luck to you all!

(Also, I just signed a metric buttload of books at Books of Wonder here in NYC. Click here to mail-order these signed copies. There are some of every series I’ve ever written, so call them if you don’t see the one you want.)

And now here at the tips!

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

31 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Preparations!

  1. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, sadly. I am doing NaNoFETDOYBIMSCONIBLAY… I need to finish editing my novel, so THAT’S what I’ll be spending November doing.


  2. Writing is fun! Right now it’s just my hobby, but it’d be awesome to make a living out of it! I wonder how long that takes…

  3. Just curious (you may have answered this question in one of your posts last year, but I plan to read them over the month and thus don’t know), but how many words would you say you write each day (or each writing day)? Is 1,667 more or less than you normally write? (1,667 is the number NaNoWriMo participants need to write per day, on average.) (I think I may have included too many parentheses in this comment.)

  4. I like the unstucking tecniques. “Send someone in there with a gun”. You know, I could actaully do that with this story I’m writing.

  5. Paul-
    For most of my writing career, I wrote 1,000 words a day. Now I am old and ony write about 600. But you are (probably) young, so it’s okay to go faster.

  6. But everyone is different, of course! Some people only write a handful of words a day, and they still wind up with novels. Life is long.

  7. I think I’ll enter this…I mean I think that I have some good material and the bulk of it comes from personal experiences. And that’s something that Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings does recomend….

    Alright! Then it’s decided! I will write a fiction novel that is heavily influenced by my brother’s drug addiction! ((why the hell does that sound so cheery…?))

  8. I won last year with 50k but i didnt do 2009 because I never heard of it.
    Scott-your not that Old! You wrote more then I ever written I bet! Your awesome and thanks for this!

  9. NaNo is 3 hours away and I am hyped up on candy. This is either an incredibly good or incredibly bad sign.

  10. first year for NaNoWriMo
    my username on the website is Today_is_Yesterday’s_Tomorrow if you want to be my writing buddy ^_^
    i just LOVE new writing buddies!

  11. Oh yeah, writing buddies, I’ll add you, Today_is_Yesterday’s_Tomorrow. I’m Aerowolf, feel free to add me!

  12. Mm, speaking of writing buddies, mine is Iy-Lee if you want to add me. I’m reeeeeeeaaaaaally looking forward to this! XD

  13. I love November!!!!! NaNoWriMo rocks!!!! I think though that I’ll focus on finishing my novel before I actually write a new one in 30 days. Otherwise I’ll never finish. lol

  14. I’m open to being a writing buddy too! I’m writershope18. @Jess, I already sent you a buddy request. I couldn’t find Aerowolf or Today_is_Yesterday’s_Tomorrow. πŸ™

  15. WOOOOOOAAAAAH! I love it when cool people mention NaNoWriMo! It makes me feel like I’m doing something SO RIGHT! And I am- yes!

    Third year for me πŸ˜€

    juliajreams, add me! ((And then note me about who you are/that you’re from the Westerblog- just so I know.))

  16. I have never heard of this seemingly masterful/amazing/wonderful NaNoWriMo before about five seconds ago. I shall look into it. *investigates* and it said “word cloud” on the linky things. This reminds me of a Certain Incident Taking Place Some Time Ago Concerning A Missing Word From A Certain Goliath Word Cloud. Could the Certain Incident be resolved, perchance? (whiny voice: pleeaaassseee??)

  17. Aw I’ve never heard of this, but love to write! (Have since Kindergarten!) haha my kindergarten teacher predicted our future jobs and she sai I was going to be an author! Anyway… (off subject again…) I decided to join it. I wrote about 1,300 ish words today, and I’m planning on bringing my notebook everywhere with me incase I get spare time to write! And Scott-la, I put you as my inspiration! πŸ˜‰

  18. wow…I WOULD do this…but I have school…and coursework…but I have been writing a story over the past two months, it’s on called “You and I” by ellahj πŸ˜‰

  19. Happy Nanowrimo to everybody!
    This is my first year writing in nanowrimo so I am a bit nervous to get in 1,600 words everyday, but if all else fails I can at least submit my story to the YWP website! Yay!
    @Aerorace, @fire makes me smile, and @julia
    I have all added you as my writing buddies! I’m Stargirl8, same as my post, so please don’t be alarmed if some random person called Stargirl8 adds you as a writing buddy. I will also send you all nanomail introducing myself to you!
    Happy Writing everyone!


  20. im doing the ywp nanowrimo because i want to work up to 50000 words… too much homework… but maybe next year ill do the real one! super excited because im going to be a writer when i grow up πŸ˜€

  21. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I just read the description thingie dingy in the post and I am currently in the process of writing a novel, so I shall do this!!! (starting late… :B)

  22. This is my first year. So far, so…well, so-so. I’m writing a sort of steampunk version of the 1st year of the Peloponessian War, except there is a rather interesting twist that sprung from Helen of Troy.

    My name on there is Arden-Mollie if you’d like to find me.

    Good luck Nano-ers, and thanks for the advice, Scott!

  23. I’m wondering you develop slang in your novels’ cultures? I’ve read the Uglies series and Leviathan series, and I really really admire how natural the speech is, especially when there are a lot of idioms and colloquialism. So, does it just fall into place from the culture you have imagined, or does it come some other way? Does the language really start to take off in your zero draft, or later in your writing? I know that my characters need a certain vernacular, but I don’t know how to develop one for them…so far every dialog has been in my own vernacular. Just looking to get a handle on that aspect.

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