Thursday, November 15, 2012

How To NaNoWriMo

Better late than never, right?  So, even though we are more than halfway through the mind-and-butt-numbing exercise we lovingly call the craziest month in the writer year, I thought we could all use a boost.  (Yes, to answer the unasked question, I AM NaNoing, but on my terms (a Scorpio always, I just hate to be told what to do!).

A new friend answered a shout-out I sent out into the facebook and twitter stratosphere for tips they have found useful in their personal writing journey.  His ideas and suggestions are good, so good, in fact, I am practicing a couple of them.  (no telling which ones....a girl has to have some mystery surrounding her *wink*)

HOW TO NaNoWriMO      by J.T. Schaad

So you want to take the challenge to write a novel in 1 month? Finding it difficult? It doesn't have to be.  Why is the NaNoWrMo thing becoming so popular? Because as an Indie author without a huge publisher behind you to promote your work with an unlimited bank account, you will quickly realize you need to write alot of books!
This is a step by step guide of how to write a novel within 30 days. You may be surprised to find you can do this easily in 2 and a half weeks. So I assume you have your idea in mind of what the book will be about. If not then see my previous post about idea generation.
Is it really possible to write this fast? Of course! Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books! Without a pc! That's right. No word processing. Everything typed and typed and typed again until it was ready for print.
You may not write 500 books in your life, but you should write at least 100!
Step 1) CREATE AN OUTLINE! Now most people remember doing outlines from school and we all hated them back then. The strict outline form is retarded and no one ever needs to use it in real life. I am talking about a loose chapter by chapter outline where you simply make up the story. This is much faster to do with an outline because if you write it all in prose form there is too much redoing! It is maddening and takes forever.
For instance, you are 200 pages into the novel when you get a genius idea for something that needs to happen now. But for this to happen, something else needed to happen 100 pages ago. That means you have to throw out the past 100 pages! What a nightmare. This takes a massive amount of wasted time. If this happened while you are doing the outline, you throw away 2 pages of outlined notebook paper. Takes about 2 hrs to get caught up. Way faster.
Step 2) Tell THE STORYNothing is more irritating to a reader or more time consuming for a novelist than the belief that people’s imagination are so limited the writer must tell them every single detail about everything to get a point across. They go into explicit description about a characters height, hair color, eye color, the color of a house, the weather, the moon and the shape of it, the color and shape of every single freckle on the main character’s nose, etc. Way too much detail!
As an author your job is to tell the story. When you are distracting and boring readers with all this other junk, unless it is crucial to the story in some way, it is a waste of space and time. Your book should be filled with fast chapters, witty and snappy dialogue, quick scenes. Dont’ feel that your book must be 400 pages to be considered a true novel. As a reader myself I start getting bored after 300 pages. It’s time to wrap it up. Over 400 pages I start to think of all the scenes and fat that should have been cut from this thing. After 500 pages I start to question whether the author has ever heard of this thing called a sequel…
STEP 3) SET A SCHEDULE! This seems like a no-brainer but it is unreal how many authors struggle with adhering to a solidly consistent schedule. I understand that life happens and it is crazy to find time to write sometimes, but that is when you must make a choice. Find a time that you know you will be free to write. I recommend at least 2 to 3 hours a day. Now I am a fast writer and can easily rock out 5 pages or so an hour. That means I can do a 300 page novel in 20 days of writing even if I only do 3 hours a day. I believe many of you will find that with the outline completed the book writes itself because the STORY is already written! The outline is also usually quick to complete. It is the hardest part because you must create all of the elements of the story beginning to end. But still relatively fast. Most people can probably average about 3 chapters per hour for outlining.
Now how to find those 3 hrs a day? When I first started doing this I dropped my sleep down to 4 hours a day. Yes it was rough but I was prepared to make the sacrifice for my art. I had a day job, so the only time I could find to write was in the middle of the night. I slept from 10pm to 2am. Then I wrote until 6am. That's 4 hours a day. Now this is not healthy but you must do what you must do to get it done.
So that is really all that you need to accomplish to make this NaNoWrMo thing happen. As an indie author selling a fraction of what big name authors with fat publishing contracts sell, you must write way more books. Its easier and more profitable to sell 20,000 copies of 10 novels than it is to sell 5,000 copies of 1.
If you are serious about doing this full time then you must make the sacrifice. I’m not saying that you have to or that you should give up sleep like I did, but you must break down your life to find all the time wasters that suck you of your life. They are there, trust me. Sit down and analyze your schedule. Condense and Condense and Condense. You will be surprised how much time you can squeeze out.
Follow these steps and you will be amazed at how prolific you become.
J. T. Schaad, a new friend, is a writer after my own twisted heart...a horror author.  I grabbed some contact information for him and you can reach him here:

Contact Info

And don't forget his blog, where with his permission, I snagged this great post!


  1. Very cool points! :) I'm a pantser so I can relate to the needing an outline lol

  2. I know sev. people who have great success with NaNoWriMo ... and some have even later turned those NaNo ms. into published novels!
    For me, it always seems that Nov. is an incredibly crowded month and that's one of many reasons I've not yet tried my hand at NaNo.