National Novel Writing Month

Have you decided to sign up for National Novel Writing Month, or, like me, just going to write it anyway without signing up? The 2011 NaNoWiMo is what restarted my writing. I finished my first novel that month, then Azure Maris the following month. The discipline to write is hard to keep, and it is an important part of writing, especially professionally, as I am discovering.

NaNoWiMo shoots for 50,000 words in a month; I prefer longer books, so I shoot for 90,000 words in a month. Is it always easy? No, but the point is to simply write. I will admit that I have gotten stuck on two books that I'm writing - stuck enough to have to step back and not work on them everyday. Sometimes that allowance is needed.

If you're going to write a novel in a month what are some things that you should have before you begin?
  1. Main Characters. It sounds rather obvious, but you do need to know who the story revolves around, and who is telling the story. The main characters also include the antagonist.
  2. Setting. While it might not sound that important, setting can change a book's entire feel. My current book (no title yet) has been working around in my brain for almost ten years. The setting never worked and in that problem, I had difficulty writing it.
  3. Plot line. What does the main character want and why? What is it that prevents her from attaining her goal?
  4. Relevant research. Especially true for historical novels, you need to know what is happening in your time period.
  5. Dedication. It is not going to be easy to write a novel in a month. It takes time and dedication, but it can be done. The key is to simply write.
All these elements you need before you begin any novel, however, when your purpose is to finish a novel in one month, lack of plot or research can prove to be difficult. Do you need an outline? Not really. For me, I tried using outlines for my novels, but discovered that they never followed what the outline said. Now, I find that shooting for a daily word count allows me freedom, though I do usually know where the book leads.

What about you? Are you going to buckle down and actually write that first novel this month?


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