Only a few more days until November, when the 2014 NanoWriMo begins! Maybe you’ve done this before, or maybe you’re thinking about it for the first time. After a recent Writer’s Digest article about nano-ing all year-round, you may even be a little overwhelmed at the prospect. But NanoWriMo can improve your writing!
Writing Tip for Today: Even if you can’t “nano” every day of the year, November can still become a defining month for your writing skills. Here’s how:
BIC and More BIC
Doing Nano can help you develop the discipline you need to complete a novel. A lot of what is called “success” in novel writing involves showing up. A novel that’s “all in your head” doesn’t count until you write it down! NanoWriMo can aid in keeping your BIC (Butt in Chair) so you can get your ideas down. Pro writers don’t always “feel” like writing, and the elusive “muse” is often a no-show. But if you commit to sitting down and writing on a schedule, your novel will begin to materialize. Set a reasonable schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
Apply the Formula
Yes there’s a formula of sorts for writing a story of any kind. Usually, about 20% of the total word count is used to: Introduce and develop your lead character, introduce the main conflict and goals, the setting, and introduce at least one of the obstacles your character will face. The next 60% of your story further develops the characters and problems laid out in the opening and also increases in tension as you introduce complications, reversals and losses. At the story climax, you move into the final 20%. Here you have the “do or die” event where the character feels all is lost, until the character ACTS and either secures the goal or not. The denouement or resolution rounds out the story, with only a few possible endings: She gets her goal and is happy, gets goal and isn’t happy, or the opposite.
The More You Know
Finally, the more you write, the more your skills are liable to improve. Make a commitment to the writing craft this November. If you succeed at NanoWriMo, you’ll have at least 50,000 more words to add to your quest to learn to write a novel. The draft you pound out in 30 days probably won’t be polished. But you’ll have something to work on–and you can call yourself a writer.