Craft-Writing, NaNoWriMo, Reviews

No Plot? No Problem! (Review)

noplotnoproblemI don’t like reading fiction while I’m dwelling on a stretch of my own writing. But I do enjoy non-fiction (perhaps it requires a different part of my brain to process the information?). Anyway, I picked up No Plot? No Problem! by one of the founders of NaNoWriMo. While it’s a long way from November, I thought Baty might have some interesting advice to dispense even if I wasn’t planning on hunkering down in a bunker somewhere with a typewriter for thirty days to complete a first draft.

If you’ve never sat down to finish a manuscript, by all means read the first 2/3 of the book. There’s some great advice in there. But for those who have finished a manuscript, it’s a bit repetitive. The last third, though, was Baty’s strongest part. Here he breaks it down into the four week writing process and what to expect. Even if you’ve not done a book in a month, eventually every novel fits into these stages at some point or another.

First Week

  • Shut off inner editor
  • Don’t agonize over the first sentence
  • Ride the momentum
  • Italicize not delete
  • Keep the story to yourself

Second Week

  • Don’t Get it right, get it written
  • Take care of yourself / no sick
  • Check in / 500 words or less

Third Week

  • Appraising your progress
  • Support network attacks
  • Try to crank out 12,000 words over a two day weekend by dividing the time into small workable chunks

Week Four

  • Love your body
  • Look for forgotten ideas
  • Cross early and keep writing
  • When it happens, tell everyone you know

Baty in week one through four hits the nail on the head with the momentum of any manuscript. One thing he repeated is you gotta get it down. Even if it’s crap or doesn’t make sense. Write it down. Type it. Do it long hand. Use any method you can to get it from your mind to a computer or a piece of paper.  As he so keenly said: “Don’t get it right. Get it written.”

Good advice.

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo (2013)

nanowritingmoOkay. NaNoWriMo 2013 was a bust, at least my meeting the 50,000 word goal. I didn’t even come close. It was a great experience. It showed me that I lacked modivation and needed a better handle on my story than I originally thought.

I think if I decide to do it next year, I’ll spend a couple of months ahead of time getting to know my characters and ramping up my plot outline. That way I just have thirty days to do nothing but write and nothing else.

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo (Progress)

GOAL: 50,000 words

Day 01: 700 words
Day 02: 1200 words
Day 03: 2400 words
Day 04: 2400 words
Day 05: 3585 words
Day 06: 4066 words
Day 07: 4266 words
Day 08: 4766 words
Day 09: 5966 words
Day 10: 5966 words
Day 11:  6766 words
Day 12: 6966 words
Day 13: 6966 words
Day 14: 6966 words
Day 15: 6966 words
Day 16: 6966 words
Day 17: 6966 words
Day 18: 6966 words
Day 19: 6966 words
Day 20: 6966 words
Day 21: 6966 words
Day 22: 6966 words
Day 23: 6966 words
Day 24: 6966 words
Day 25: 6966 words
Day 26: 6966 words
Day 27: 6966 words
Day 28: 6966 words
Day 29: 6966 words
Day 30: 6966 words

TOTAL WORDS: 6966 words

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo (2013)

nanowritingmoWhat the heck is NaNoWriMo, you might wonder? It’s the abbreviation for Nation Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel in thirty days. Or 50,000 words. That breaks it down to about 1667 words a day. I’ve never tried it before. Thought I’d give it a shot. Mostly because I’m a pick-at-it writer. Move words around. Stare at the screen, sometimes only producing a sentence or two while my inner editor is screaming. That sucks. You wrote that, ick! No. No. No. Don’t say it that way. I want to push myself to write what I can. Get the **&%y first draft out of the way to work on editing and revising later. Tell my inner editor to shut up! Time out. Go sit and sulk in the corner birdbybirdfor a month, then I’ll let you out to play.

Oh, **&%y first draft aren’t my words at all. They’re Anne Lamott’s. In one of her chapters, **&%y first drafts, she says exactly that. Sometimes ya gotta write crap to get to the good stuff.