National Novel Writing Month, November 2011

Ready to join tens of thousands of writers around the world and write a draft of your novel in 30 days? November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and whether you register officially on the website and follow the rules (175-pages/50,000 words) or not, it is a great time to take advantage of collective creative steam. And in order to try, you must truly give yourself permission to work quickly, and messily, through the first draft.

Is it a good idea? Yes, if you get the basics of your novel clear first. According to NaNoWriMo rules, you can begin with an outline, notes, and character sketches. That’s vital, because launching in to write a novel in 30 days without a sense of direction can quickly lead you to a dead end.
If you’re going for it, I encourage you to make sure you have your basic story equation in place. My previous two blogs have been focusing on these vital story elements: 1) the story catalyst, the event that hooks the reader and signals the first surface problem; 2) the deep-story problem that stems from the protagonist’s inner struggle and emotional journey; 3) a fascinating, dimensional, and active protagonist driven to go the distance against the odds. If those elements are working in your novel, the work you do in 30 days or six months will pay off instead of fizzle.

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