Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lessons from NaNoWriMo

I don't have a lot of time to post, as I need to get cracking on my NaNoWriMo novel, but I'd thought I'd list some interesting strategies I've learned while trying to write 2000 words a day:
  1. It is perfectly acceptable to plagiarize yourself. If you character wants to talk about something you've already written about in your blog, copy and paste it into the novel, rearrange the words a little bit, and voilĂ ! 66 words!
  2. It is perfectly acceptable to plagiarize quote someone else. Hey, maybe your character likes poetry, so quote the last stanza of a poem and lookee! Another 65 words!
  3. It is perfectly acceptable to use horrible crutch words that you would otherwise search for with an eagle-eye and prune ruthlessly, like an overzealous topiary gardener. If you use words like "so" "just" or "little" ten times in one paragraph, who cares! That's ten extra words! (Besides, since my novel is told in first person, those words are my characters' crutches, not mine.)
  4. It is perfectly acceptable to play with structural quirks to build word count. As I mentioned before, my character is telling her story in encyclopedia format. She gives a kind-of real definition, then writes a couple paragraphs explaining what the subject means to her. I'm prefacing each of these explanations with the phrase: "Editor's note." I may delete those if I decide to revise, as they may be unnecessary; but for now, I start each day by listing 6 to 8 words to define, each followed by the phrase "Editor's note." That's an extra 12 to 16 words, even before I've started engaging my brain.
After four days, I have over 8000 words, which is the kind of progress I'd hoped for. Even better, I'm having a lot of fun writing those 8000 words, which means I'm getting something out of the whole NaNoWriMo experience. We'll see if I feel the same way at the end of the month, after I've probably fallen behind and feel horribly pressured to reach 50,000 words by the 30th, but for now, the experiment is going well.

1 comment:

  1. Here's my tip: Details. Lots of em. Your character doesn't find a chocolate bar. She finds a Hershey's Dark And Gooey Marshmallow Chompo Bar With Nuts wrapped in shiny gold foil. And she has to say the whole name every time she references it.