NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–is coming soon. From November 1st-30th, writers far and wide will be writing their hearts out in the attempt to produce a novel in 30 days. So, what’s involved, and how can you have some hope of achieving this lofty goal?
How It Works
You must produce a 50,000 word piece of fiction, from scratch, by midnight on November 30th. NaNoWriMo works on the honour system.
Pros: No entry fees; forces you to write a lot over a short period of time; you have nothing to lose by entering.
Cons: No prizes, so less motivation; you’ll probably produce writing of questionable quality under such constraints; it’s easy to quit because there are no consequences.
Does NaNoWriMo Increase My Chances of Getting Published?
It’s the question everyone wants to know: will I be writing something publishable during this contest?
Currently, there’s a list of 35 authors on the NaNoWriMo site who’ve been published after participating. Keep in mind, said novels were probably reworked and highly polished after the contest.
Apparently Harlequin encourages NaNoWriMo participants to submit their romance manuscripts after the competition. So, if this is your genre, you might have a crack at publishing your novel.
How To Write A Novel In 30 Days
If you decide to enter NaNoWriMo, how do you plan to get that book written in such a short time? Here are some tips to keep you on track as you race to the finish line:
- Know why you’re entering. If you’ve got a story itching to get out, do it. If you’re only acting on a whim, you’re likely to fail.
- Let your family members know you’re participating in the competition. You’re going to need their understanding if you’ll be pulling out your hair for a month.
- Connect with other writers who are participating, and be accountable to one another.
- Set strict writing hours for when you’re sure you won’t have other responsibilities. If you have a day-job, you’ll want to plan to write first thing in the morning or late at night.
- Give yourself a daily quota of words to write. Don’t be tempted to slack one day and try to make up for it the next unless you have a really good excuse.
- Find a good spot to write: an office, a desk by a window, the kitchen table. Wherever you’re comfortable. Make it your space with all the materials you’ll need to write your novel (computer, pens, pencils, lined paper, blank paper, reference books, research, etc.)
- Have a written outline and character sketches to work from (this is permitted in the official rules).
- If you don’t tend to outline, spend some time mentally composting your basic premise and characters before the start date so you’re ready to begin on time.
- Unless you’ve done pre-research for your idea already, choose a storyline that won’t require a lot of extra research during the writing stage (i.e. write what you know).
- If you go off schedule, don’t give up. 25,000 words in 30 days is better than none. You’re only cheating yourself of the experience by quitting.
Will you take part in NaNoWriMo this November? Please share your tips and any previous experiences with us.