Eoin's Writing Tips: NaNoWriMo

How to Write a Novel in One Month (or less)
 
Let’s face it, writing a novel in one month is a monumental task.  Nevertheless, it can be done as long as the first ingredient is determination and a willingness to let that determination guide you up crests and through valleys on your way to a completed manuscript.  You will probably never work as hard on your fiction so let’s consider some of the most important elements to concentrate on.
 
Before you begin writing you would be well advised to have a theme or premise in mind that will guide your novel.  Spend a few days thinking about this before you do any writing.  A theme is a statement about human nature that is true in all circumstances and which can be structured simply as a short statement in three parts: Character, conflict, resolution.  For example: Unbridled ambition can lead to disaster, Fear leads to failure, Conscience can either cure or kill, Hubris leads to humiliation, Conform or be an outcast.  A premise in these cases is a goal.
 
The next thing to consider before you begin to write is Atmosphere.  Where does your story take place, what does it look like, what is the weather there?  Create the world scene by scene and the words will follow.  Is your primary character’s world a school, a theater group, a musical band?  Use names, places, surroundings, relation to main character.  Find names in a phone book, place descriptions and layout if needed can be located on maps. 
 
Now it is time to imagine your main character.  Describe as many details as you can so the reader has a good idea of what is going on.  Who are others in the story who interact with your character – a brother, a colleague, wife, husband, any other incidental character who comes in contact with the main character so the reader learns of him through the eyes of others.  Is he skittish, nervous, confident.  Think of your premise and cause your character to react throughout your story to the conditions you put him into.  Your protagonist must always be relentless in forcing the action.
 
Now that the preliminary work is done, no more than three days, it must schedule your writing time.  When you begin at this stage you must be conscientious.  One possibility could be a chapter a day of fifteen to twenty pages for eleven to thirteen days.  Avoid plotting because it could very easily turn into a time wasting exercise as you try to figure out everything before you write it.  Use the "Narrative Push” method. 
 
The narrative push method is simply writing with no clear idea where your story is going.  Allow the characters and their situations to guide you, keep an open mind, make decisions quickly and try to stick to them.  Don’t think.  Be surprised.  After the first chapter you should have a good idea where your story is headed even though you have not written an outline or plot.   
 
At the end of your writing period, take a few days off to reinvigorate yourself, no more than three or four.  Now is the time for proofreading, revision and perhaps rewriting some scenes.  Schedule three to four days for this part of the process.
 
Don’t forget.  A 150 to 200 page manuscript written in a month will be exhausting.  You must be able to deal with it and write through it.  Beginning is always the toughest part.  Establish your schedule and stick to it.  If you have determined a specific starting date any procrastination will destroy your project.  The Writers Fusion Novel Writing Workbook and Journal is her to keep you on track! Remember: Create the world and the words will follow.  Just like magic. 
  

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