Archive for September, 2016

This is the second part to “No Honor Among Thieves.” Why write these serials? Mainbly its a way to motivate myself, to get me to write something every week. And, the thought goes, if I manage to write enough words, I can maybe pull this together into something I can publish as a piece. Anyway, you don’t care about all that at all, but rather (hopefully) the actual story. As always, feel free to like, share, and comment. Criticism (of the constructive kind) is always welcome.

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(Yes, I had more thoughts on NaNoWriMo. This list is related to the post below.)

  1. Do your research now. If you’re having to spend time looking things up while you are writing, you are wasting precious, precious writing time.
  2. Be excited about what you want to write. If you hate everything about your story, what makes you think readers are going to like it any more than you do? Related: what do you not see enough of in fiction that you would like to see? Now is your chance even if the only one that ever sees (or hears) the final product is your cat. Or dog. You get the idea.
  3. Related to number one: organize your research. Index cards, word doc files, scrivener notes, post-it notes, pencil scribbles on bar napkins. It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you can’t access your research while you are writing, it doesn’t matter how much research you did. Time spent finding your notes is time you could have been writing.
  4. Speaking of time: you will never “find” enough time. You have to carve out time for yourself with a butcher blade and a chainsaw.
  5. You should know what’s going to happen in the story. I can’t stress this enough. Approaching the story as a magical mystery tour where you are writing to find out what happens is a good way to get yourself trapped by plot holes or needing to save everything with a Deus Ex Machina. Plan. Outline. You’ll thank me later.
  6. NaNoWriMo isn’t the time to be looking for the perfect word. If you are struggling to find the medical term for bruise, know you could have written bruise and the next four sentences in the time it took you look up ecchymosis.
  7. Don’t be afraid to steal. Steal from other books. Steal from movies. Steal from TV. Steal from life. Steal from lots of different places and everyone will think you are original.
  8. Break it down into manageable chunks. I get it, 50k words seems like a lot of words. It is a lot words. So what about 2,000 words? Write 2,000 words a day for 25 days and you won’t only be done, but ahead of schedule.
  9. I mentioned characters in the last post. Antagonists are characters. What’s making the bad guy do what they do? What’s in it for them? How do their goals run counter to the protagonist?
  10. Think in terms of scenes. We don’t need to see the entire journey from Point A to Point written out. Is that trip uneventful? Great. SKIP TO THEM ARRIVING.
  11. The only person you are really competing against is yourself. Comparing yourself to how other people are doing is good way to get discouraged, especially if this is your first attempt. Think of it this way- the only who can tell this story in this particular way is you.
  12. No one is going to judge you if you don’t get to 50,000 words, except maybe you. No matter how many words you get down, it’ll be that many more than where you started November 1.
  13. Finish. Your. Shit. You got to 50k…buuuuut your story isn’t finished. So sit down on December 1 and work to finish it. Even if you aren’t planning on it ever seeing the cold light of day, it’s important to finish what you are working on. (And just ignore that drawer full of half-finished stories I just slammed close- this is Do As I Say not As I Do time, and we’ve all got our flaws). This is about finishing a draft you can then polish, not, “Yay! I wrote a story I don’t ever have to look at it again!”
  14. Don’t let anyone tell you NaNoWriMo is for people who aren’t “real” writers. A lot of people who write can get pretentious about what constitutes a “real” writer. Do you write? Good, you’re a writer then. We all gotta start somewhere.
  15. NaNoWriMo isn’t actually the end. What happens next is you let it sit until January 1. Get through the holidays. Get some distance and perspective. On January 2nd (because, let’s face it no one does much of anything on January 1), you get to phase two – editing. That’s where you get to take your word slurry and try to make it into something coherent. That’s where the real work starts.

Extra special bonus tip: Get rest. Be sure to eat and drink. You’ll write better rested and cared for than exhausted and distracted by being hungry or thirsty.

Feel free to comment, like, and share!

  1. Shut up it’s not too early to talk about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Yes, officially it starts in November, but I guarantee you the best way to successfully complete the requisite 50,000 words in the 30 days given is to start thinking about your story now.
  2. Start thinking about characters. That means description, backstory, motivation. What’re their buttons? What sets them apart? This is more than just the protagonist. Think about your antagonist. Think about satellite characters. What’s motivating them? What’s making them do what they do?
  3. What’s the setting? Rural Alabama is different from Elfy Forestland is different from Noir Cyberpunk where it rains all the time. How does the setting help to frame the story?
  4. Related to the above: do your worldbuilding now. November is for writing the story, not the setting. I guarantee if you let yourself get bogged down in the worldbuilding, if you need to spend time figuring your shit out in November, you aren’t going to get far with the actual writing.
  5. What are the stakes of the story? What happens if your protagonist falls flat on their face? Is it the end of the world? The end of a relationship? End of employment? What if they succeed? The status quo should change by the end of the story.
  6. Do not let your character be a leaf on the wind. They need to be a jet plane. In other words- give the character(s) agency. Have them make decisions. Have them make choices. These can even be bad choices, but make them act in the world you create.
  7. Work out now how you are going to tell the story. First person present? Third person limited past? Now’s the time to make those decisions, not at 12:01 am in November 1.
  8. Think about your beats. Road map out your story. NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words. That’s 10k words an act for five acts. You know who worked the five act model? Shakespeare. Be like Shakespeare.
  9. Allow yourself to suck. NaNoWriMo is designed to get writers to get words on page. They don’t have to be the perfect words. That’s what editing is for.
  10. Don’t give a fuck about genre. You want to write steampunk airship pirates battling Martians? Shapeshifter mutant erotica? Weird West meets Weird Science? You do you.
  11. Look at your schedule. 30 days for 50k words is 1,666.67 words per day. November contains things like Thanksgiving. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Having to go to work. Plan out what days might end up being blacked out for writing. Plan accordingly.
  12. There are certain things that drive word count. Action. Dialogue (especially asking questions). Do those things.
  13. Certain parts are going to bog you down. Writing long descriptions. Writing exposition.
  14. Getting stuck on a scene? Put in a place holder. Something like [Exposition on the nature the lamia/sphinx war goes here]. Move on to the next scene. Put that bracket in red, set it off from the rest of the scene. Come back to it later when you are ready to tackle it.
  15. Find your writing groove now. Music or no music? What kind of music? Caffeine? Alcohol? Other? If booze makes you sleepy, you might want to scale back when writing. You won’t get nearly as much done as you might think. Haven’t written anything in a while? Maybe write a couple of short pieces before hand. Take those characters out for a test drive. Writing is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

Further reading:

How to Write a Novel in 3 Days (The Michael Moorcock Way)

The official NaNoWriMo website.

Yes, I am considering participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I did it years ago. 2001 I think? And I finished. And if I do participate I’ll be posting the word slurry here, one day at a time.

Being a continuation from here.

The first part can be found here (yes, I still haven’t gone back and renamed all the pieces, but then this wasn’t originally envisioned as a serialized long piece, either). I like this piece because it let me use Viktoria more and deservedly so. As always, feedback and comments are welcome (and hey, feel free to check out some of the other pieces on the site while you are at it).

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This week’s challenge is to use the always entertaining Who the Fuck is MY D&D Character? My result:

ANXIOUS TIEFLING FIGHTER FROM A LOCAL STREET GANG WHO BRIBED A NOBLEMAN TO HELP THEM SMUGGLE SLAVES OUT OF A TYRANNICAL KINGDOM

So yeah, that got me this short (which I know feels like it could be something a lot bigger, but damn, I had just about 1000 words to work with here). As always, comments are welcome and appreciated (as is sharing, liking, following on twitter or liking on facebook.

Yes, yes, you came for story time, not self-promotion time. I GET IT.

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