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Lagging behind in NaNoWriMo?

How am I allowed to give pro tips to people who are a few, or maybe many, words behind? Because I’m lagging 7307 words behind, that’s why! Whether you’re 1000 words behind or 25,000 words behind, this post is designed to help you, albeit with a few laughs along the way, I hope. Ready? Off we go!

 

Decide what you want to achieve

Why do you even want to do NaNoWriMo this year? To finish off the other half of that novel which you just haven’t bothered to do? To write a rough first draft of the next best-selling book of all time, a la A Tale of Two Cities? Or do you have an idea in your head that you just have to write down, even though you don’t want to get it published?

Whatever your reason, calm down! The publishing industry is still going to be there when you’ve finished your book, be that the end of this year or 2016. Just relax, take a deep breath, and write.

 

But what if I can’t write?

Has writer’s block hit you? Well I’m sorry to say that, in the poshest voice possible, that is absolute poppycock! Everyone is in the same position as you: write 50,000 words in 30 days. Now I understand that this is not easy, and in normal circumstances of novel-writing I would accept if someone had a case of writer’s block. But during NaNoWriMo? The only reason you “can’t” write everyday is because you won’t; we’re all naturally lazy, apart from the odd one or two people living on this planet. I really didn’t want to write today, and I haven’t written that much, but I’m proud to have written 1061 words. I wrote something when I didn’t want to write! If you can say the same about you, even if all you write is 100 words, you’ve done something which not many people have done. Be proud of that fact.

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

 

Listen to certain music whilst writing certain scenes

I know some people can write whilst even the randomest type of music is blasting (well, maybe not blasting) through their speakers. But here’s a little thing which I do: if I’m writing an action scene, then I’ll listen to something powerful, strong, loud. But if I’m writing a sad scene (there are many of them in my own NaNoWriMo book) I’ll listen to something slower, quieter, which usually means that it’s sadder. I find that by doing this the words seem to push their way through those callous fingers and onto the page, meaning more words for your word count! Whoo hoo!

 

I’m never going to finish!

As I said before, relax. If you really are a long way off from catching up, or even if you haven’t started yet, then consider creating a new goal for yourself. After all, why beat yourself up about something which you’ll never get done? If you’re at 10,000 words, maybe you should try to aim for 30,000 by November 30th, as opposed to its ‘official’ 50,000. If you haven’t started yet, why not push for 20,000? NaNoWriMo isn’t necessarily about hitting that 50k; it’s about community, striving for what YOU can achieve, and feeling good about yourself. If you haven’t managed 50,000 by the end of November, don’t sweat it – you’ve participated and tried, which is more than a lot of people have ever done, and you’ve had the chance to write, which is always a great thing. And remember that even after November, you can keep going with your novel! It doesn’t have to end! 😀

 

But my writing isn’t good enough…

Don’t even think about thinking this. Do you know what NaNoWriMo’s tagline is? “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!” Yeah, that means that your work doesn’t have to be good. At all. It can be terrible, actually, because NaNoWriMo’s goal isn’t to ‘get everyone to write perfect novels which will sell tremendously well.’ Their goal is simple but achievable: bring everyone together who wants to write and let them write. Whatever you’ve accomplished by the end, and if you’ve tried, then that’s the best anyone can ever do.

 

And that’s the bottom line. If you’ve tried your best, not anyone else’s, then who can criticise you? No one, that’s who. Enjoy the writing that you manage to do, and smile at what everybody else has managed to write, as well. National Novel Writing Month is all about community, and that’s what counts!

 

Until next week,

Thomas (who is over 7000 words behind and will probably be rushing like mad during the last few days).

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I haven’t added many words, but that’s okay, right?

If I apologise to you all that I’ve not added any more than 3364 words to my NaNoWriMo novel, I’ll be honest, it’s not really going to work. But if I apologise to my inner writer for being a lazy bum, then I’m sure I’ll feel a little ashamed and disappointed.

Fortunately for me, though, I haven’t been a lazy bum – the reason I haven’t paid much attention to my work-in-progress novel, 30 Days, is because I’ve had to write 2500-word essay about whether men and women read literature in the same way. Not really my thing, and let’s face it, I’m not an academic writer. Anyway, preparing and writing that essay has taken a huge chunk of my time. However, dawn is finally here, as with my essay now submitted, I can crack on with my pos-apocalyptic novel again! Three cheers for me! Come on, I can’t see you jumping and clapping at my pleasant turn of events! 😛

All jokes aside, this week I’m hoping to reach the 35k mark – even with uni starting up again (this week was reading week) I’m determined to do it! Has anyone else faced similar problems, or even just hit a bump in the road or writer’s block? Write in the comments below and share it all with the Writer’ Cabinet community; a problem shared is a problem halved.

Here is the second extract of my novel. Hopefully you enjoy it, but maybe you won’t – just tell me why either way! See you all next week. 🙂

30 Days Extract (Chapter Three)

The rain was so severe that Abraham literally thought that buckets full to the brim with freezing water were being dropped frantically from the black sky. The wind howled like a pack of hungry wolves and the cold bit into his flesh like thousands of spiders. He screamed uselessly, crying for someone to help. It was obvious that no one would come, but it was the only thing he could do. Going onwards was not an option, as the storm would rip him to pieces if he didn’t find shelter soon, and going back to where he just came from…

            The grass was squelching beneath his feet and the mud coated itself onto his boots – they were already ruined. He stumbled on a few more steps, although every step he did take was sapping a large part of his strength and will. Lifting a trembling hand from his coat pocket, he felt his face. Freezing. In this state he could be dead within minutes. The water had already soaked into every possible dry area, making him quiver with cold. It was hopeless.

            Hurtling to the ground, tears from his eyes began to mix into the rain, just like that Warden with his cut leg. The Warden.

            What have I done?

            His eyes were getting heavy; he struggled to stay awake.

            ‘I can’t sleep,’ he yelled to himself. ‘I must stay awake, I must go on…’

            But what was the point in going on? He already knew that it would be a wasted effort. So why did he have to continue forwards? Suddenly sleep felt far more important and satisfying, and his head drooped; his eyes gradually closed, and within a minute his body was lying face-down in the mud and waterways of rain.

NaNoWriMo starts in…3 days?!?!

It blows my mind how quickly the time has gone. I mean come on, it feels like yesterday when I said “NaNoWriMo? That sounds fun. But it’s four months away – I’ve got plenty of time.”

Apparently not.

You see, I thought I would have planned much more by now. I thought I would get detailed character bios done, a fairly detailed plotline in place, a map drawn out, and so on. But what have I actually done? Two character bios and a meagre plot concept.

Yeah.

But who cares? That’s part of what NaNo’s about: not really knowing where your story is going to go, and wondering if and when you should add new characters or kill present ones. I’m hoping to draw my map by tonight, and a more fleshed-out plotline would be nice, but it’s definitely not essential. I’ve got OpenOffice installed on my computer (I’m writing this on my dad’s PC), and if you don’t know what that is, I highly suggest you check it out – it’s like Microsoft Word, only FREE! Here’s the link to install it (I promise you, it’s legitimately free; there’s no bugs or stuff like that, and if there are, then they get fixed anyway): http://www.openoffice.org

So I’m alright. I’m okay. It’ll be fun, trying to juggle writing 2000 words a day, writing a blog, uni work, and just general life.

Things are going to change for about a month

It’s true, otherwise I’d never be able to manage everything that I have to do. So, here’s how it’s going to work for the month of November:

1.) I will be posting only once a week (probably Monday, as it’s the best time for me).

2.) The content of my posts will be purely about NaNoWriMo, but I assure you things will be back to normal in December.

3.) Because of no. “2.)”, regular updates will be posted on both the Writer’s Cabinet’s Facebook page and @writerscabinet’s Twitter account (more on this later).

4.) I will, however, be posting another film review in early November (Skyfall), but this will be counted as a bonus post.

Get the most out of November

I know some of you are participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo, so I’ve decided to create an event on the Writer’s Cabinet’s Facebook page which you can all join, at least if you’ve already liked the page – if not, please do so! It’s here:

http://www.facebook.com/writerscabinet

The event will involve lots of motivational pictures, and anyone and everyone can share their current wordcount and their actual work, if they want to. But please join the actual event, as that is where everything will be posted:

http://www.facebook.com/events/419546628105009

So what are you waiting for? Join the event, and we can all share the excitement of November!

N.B. I will also be using my Twitter account, but it won’t be as often. Still, join it anyway – I’ll be posting exclusive stuff on both Facebook and Twitter!

Questions?

Feel free to write in the comments below if you’re unsure about what I said, or if you have an idea which will possibly make Writer’s Cabinet an even more enjoyable experience. 😉 Seriously though, if you have any questions or ideas, go ahead and write them below!

I think that might be it…at least, until next Monday’s post! By then I should be well into my story, but remember that key word: should! Remember to join the Writer’s Cabinet’s Facebook Page and Twitter feed, and I’ll see you all next week. 😀

What are you planning to write in November?

Well the wait until November is nigh on unbearable for me – only 19 days until I can begin my first NaNoWriMo novel! I wanted to share with you all today about what I plan to write during the month of November, although I expect my novel to veer off the expected plotline quite harshly with every passing day. :P. So here it is, my amazing (I say that sarcastically) novel:

After discovering a blood-smeared diary that may hold the answer to where his true family lies, a small-town sheriff decides to risk everything he has in order to find them. With the help of a woman survivalist and her dog, he trails across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a persistent force hot on his tail.

But trouble soon rears its ugly head; the sheriff is captured and beaten, leaving the woman to face a difficult decision: endanger her life trying to rescue the man, or turn back and leave him for dead…

Sorry the picture is so big. I hope you like the sound of it, though – if you want, you can leave feedback in the comments. 😉

 

But I do have something else to talk about in today’s post, and it’s to do with Writer’s Cabinet‘s Facebook Page. During the month of November, this blog’s Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/writerscabinet) will be full of motivational quotes, pictures, and other fun stuff to keep you motivated whilst you write your novel. I will be posting my own endaveours on there, and you are free to do the same; we can comment on each other’s work and basically have a good time.

So if you haven’t liked the page yet, then please do, and join the actual event as well (http://www.facebook.com/writerscabinet?ref=hl#!/events/419546628105009). Obviously the more people who participate in this, the better, so get liking! Hope you’ve all had a great week; see you Monday. 🙂

50/50 Stories and NaNoWriMo

Well another week has passed and another one is gradually edging closer, but for writers this can be a good thing, especially if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I am still planning to participate, but with my Creative Writing lectures beginning this Tuesday, it’s going to be tough. Granted, NaNoWriMo is designed for fairly busy people, but writing ‘x’ number of projects and essays for the degree, writing three posts a week for the blog, and writing 1,600 words a day could be a little tricky.The good thing is that I have my novel’s synopsis planned out, so all that needs to be done before the first of November is to draw a map, create character-bios, and possibly a more detailed chart of the story. It is feasible, but I also have many books to read for my course and I may not have a lot of free time. Basically what I’m saying is that I will probably attempt to participate, but it may end suddenly and brutally.

If I do begin my crazy yet wonderful journey in about a month, there will be two changes – one, during November the posts will almost always be an update on my NaNoWriMo novel, and also for others to share their endeavours. Two, I’m also sure that the blog posts will be shorter – maybe very much so – as I will have many other things to write as well.

Now, moving on to the ’50/50 stories’ part – this is the second idea that I had, talked about in Wednesday’s post. Essentially, the concept is this: you lovely readers will give me some sort of task to write about, whether that be going to the supermarket or a police officer trying to stop a bank robbery. Then I write a specific number of words (I haven’t decided the amount yet) and at the end of this word-count, a cliffhanger will take place, be that mundane or spectacular.

Ask the audience or 50/50?
Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

For example, let’s take the supermarket scene. At the end of this scene is a choice (50/50) – should the character talk to Mrs. Wesley or hide himself from her? Then whatever the decision is, in the next 50/50 post I have to write a 500 word scene based on that choice. Perhaps I’m not making any sense, I don’t know, but I do have one dilemma: do I leave it down to you readers to choose what happens, or do I flip a coin and decide that way (don’t worry; I won’t cheat if I flip a coint at home. Just trust me.)? I really need an answer to this, but seeing as the previous poll was a bit rubbish, I’m tempted to make the decision with the flip of a coin.

I think the 50/50 concept might challenge myself to write without really knowing where the story is going, and I find that quite exciting. Also it may give me story ideas; perhaps it will be of benefit to you readers as well, I don’t know. Anyway, leave a comment to tell me which way you think would be better, and if you want to comment on anything else – NaNoWriMo, a movie, a certain book – then that’s no problem: the more, the merrier!

It was great writing to you all again, and I hope that on Monday I will have many comments to read! 😀

Example of writing on holiday

A few posts ago I said that I would offer an example of the writing that I tried to do everyday on my holiday, and while I didn’t write everyday, I did write enough to keep my writing withdrawals at bay. So then, here is a fairly long piece which I’m not happy with at all, but at least I wrote – it could spark new ideas, or it could push me into writing something better (the editing of the piece was kept to a complete minimum):

David wiped the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand, then wiped his hand on his trousers. It was a hot day, and there was still plenty of work to be done.

Clutching his wrench he lifted the car up with a jack and crawled under, beginning to check for problems with the undersde of Mrs. Roberts’ car. She wanted it to be fixed this afternoon, but that seemed unlikely in this heat – David was taking too many breaks, and the afternoon was nearly over, anyway. He coughed and began to crawl away from the car when a thin man walked in to the garage, without even seeing the sweaty man lying under the car on his right.

Silently, his eyes darting every which way, the man crept towards the garage’s back-office, opening its wooden door without making a sound.

Who is this man?

Slowly, carefully, David rolled away from the car and crouched low. Nobody else was about: most of the other staff had gone home at the usual time; it was David that was working late. He desperately wanted to call the police, but the phone was in the office, where the thin man had entered. David was quickly running out of options…

In my opinion, this piece is terrible; I had to struggle to not edit it while  was copying it into the post! The tenses are muddled, I use very little description of David’s surroundings, and I only really exercise one of the five senses – sight. But the main thing is that I wrote, and it doesn’t matter how terrible you are at writing, whether you’re young or old, big or small, experienced or amateur, your writing will improve the more you write, and that’s a fact.

Consider this: NaNoWriMo is going to be like my little story for everyone that participates – no one will have the time to edit, making the dialogue atrocious, the narrative and description will seem childish, and some characters will most like be two-dimensional. But after thirty days of writing, all the work pays off: they get the satisfaction of writing 50,000 words in a very short amount of time. And even if you don’t finish, you still tried. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Enjoy writing!

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NaNoWriMo (Part 2)

Hello fellow readers and bloggers, and welcome to my very much belated second post about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Let’s just recap: NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge that taunts you into writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It requires excessive planning (you don’t have time to look over it or change anything as you go!) and will probably tire you out by the end (I have no idea though, as this will be my first time).

What I’m keen to do is tell you a little bit about the novel I plan to write, and during this month (November), I’m hoping to do a journal of my attempts, wordcount, and thoughts about the challenge – roughly 12 posts in all. If any of you are also thinking/going to do NaNoWriMo as well, it would be great if you would share your attempts on this blog too! My novel will be set in a post-apocalyptic future, although it won’t be because of zombies or nuclear fallout, and this is the premise (but I don’t like sharing lots of my ideas, sorry; I’m very secretive with my work):

After discovering a blood-smeared diary that may hold the answer to where his true family lies, a small-town sheriff decides to risk everything he has in order to find them. With the help of a budding woman survivalist and her dog, he traipses across a barren wasteland. But trouble soon rears its ugly head: the sheriff is captured and beaten, leaving the woman to face a difficult decision – risk her life rescuing the sheriff, or continuing the long journey alone…

This is my idea so far, but since I have not delved into deep planning and reading around certain subjects yet, it may change radically (one of the books I’m going to read is a survival book in association with the Royal Marines Commandos). But I’m fairly happy with it; I have a title in mind (which actually ties in with NaNoWriMo, coincidentally!) but it’s all very hush-hush! 😛 So that’s it for today – if you want to join or know more about the challenge, click this link: http://www.nanowrimo.org/. On Saturday I will either be talking more about NaNoWriMo, or I will be posting excerpts of the writing I did on holiday with you all. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to what you all have to say!

Are you going to join in with the challenge? What are you going to write about? Let me know in the comments! 🙂