I had no idea what I was going to write about. I was so unprepared, I started googling "YA novel plot ideas."
Last year I knew way before November rolled around what I was going to work on for NaNoWriMo. I'd gotten some research done, had chosen characters' names (which later got changed) so I was rarin' to go on November 1.
This year I worry because my students will have 45 minutes each day to work on their NaNo. I'll have an hour and a half every day to work on mine. I would prefer writing during the classes, instead of acting like a police officer during each session. These are some of the things I've learned from doing NaNoWriMo:
- Size does matter. To " win" at NaNoWriMo means you've gotten 50,000 words down on paper. Last year, I wrote a historical manuscript for middle grades, which meant I didn't get close to that many words.
I got to 25,000.
Did I "win" at it? No. However, if I hadn't done NaNoWriMo, I wouldn't even have 25,000 words down. (I gotta look on the bright side, right?)
- Give the stink-eye to your internal editor. To keep the words flowing, you can't stop and look over your work. You can't revise as you write--or at least most people can't. You have to write at such a frenetic pace that all the critics inside your head need to be silenced.
During the month of November, just write, You can revise in January.
- Let yourself loose. Most likely your piece will evolve as the month marches along. You might have a neat outline created or you may know exactly how your book will end. However, as you write, things change. The characters--if they're well fleshed-out--will drive the story and cause it to unfold with twists and turns. Don't be afraid to be flexible and surprised.
- Use your time in creative ways. Because the word count goal is brutal every day, you need to make the most of your time. If you have 5 minutes before you have to leave for work, write for that short increment of time. See how many words you can get down in short spurts.
- Use it as an excuse (if you want to). If you want to get out of having to make Thanksgiving dinner, use NaNo as an excuse.
"Oh, I have to write more than 1,600 words every day. I won't have time this year to prepare the holiday meal. Could someone else host the get-together this year?"
How about you--are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you going to write about? If you're not, could you share why? (Unless I change my mind, I'm going to work on another MG historical novel, this one set in 1955...)