This month, I’m sure many of you are typing away hoping to meet the goal of 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month. And you should be halfway there.
Earlier this month, my writing friend Bonnie Dodge and I gave a presentation at our local library on the annual event, namely how to prepare, good story questions to ask yourself, and how to keep going.
All three are relevent but I want to focus on the last one because I believe it is good advice when you are working on a first draft or even are stuck in a second, third or umpteeth draft.
Here were some of my suggestions:
Write from a different point of view — If you have been writing in the hero’s point of view or voice, try writing in the villan’s or a minor character’s. This will give you and your work another vision. Maybe writing in the villan’s voice will give you a whole new prospective on your antagonist.
Kill your internal editor — This is especially important in a first draft. Don’t go back and fix. Go forward. Nothing will slow you down as returning to your last page to try to make it perfect before you go on. Cliche as it sounds, let the ideas and words flow out of you just like the chocolate fountain at Golden Corral.
Free writing — This is one of my favorites if I get stuck. Just go to Starbucks, a quiet corner of your house or tuck yourself away in the corner of the library and write with lap tap or the good ole fashioned paper and pen. How you feel that day. About the people around you, the smells, and sights. About a memory. Trust me. After an hour of this and you will want to run back to your computer and write again. You probably will even return with new stories.
Don’t stop to do research — Research will slow you down everytime on a first draft. My friend had good advice. Add asterisks in the place where you need research and then, go back later. A search and find will help you locate those places.
Talk to another writer — Call up a writing buddy and bounce ideas off each other. Go have coffee and talk shop. You will feed off each other’s energy. WARNING: don’t get do sucked into communication that you concentrate on writing pages and forums. This is ok for five minutes, but they are terrible suckers of time.
Don’t delete anything, just keep going — Especially on a first draft. Don’t say, “this is not good enough” and get rid of it. You will find that out in the editing phase. Just keep going forward.
For those of you who haven’t tried National Novel Writing Month, you are missing a great opportunity. By the end of November you will have the start of a novel. What an accomplishment.
And as an aside for those of you following my recipes, I just added chicken enchiladas to the recipe page.