NaNoWriMo 2013 — Second Check In

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” – William Faulkner

A National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Poster

We’ve completed our first full week of NaNoing. For a lot of writers, the first week tends to go very well. You’re full of vim and vinegar. The plot feels fresh. You still like your characters. Not everyone leaps out of the gate at full speed — I’m a slow starter, myself — but the phenomena is common enough that Chris Batty, NaNoWriMo founder, notes it in his writing guide, No Plot? No Problem!

He also notes that most people start having issues in the dreaded second week, which is where we are headed into. The first blush of excitement is over and the daily goal might feel like an albatross about your neck. Maybe you have plot holes or no plot to have holes in or you just really want to veg out on the couch with a lap-full of kittens and watch downloaded Lifetime movies. The temptation to throw in the towel and say “maybe next year” will be strong. Resist it. If you default to next year, then it will be the year after that, and maybe the year after that, but maybe never. This is time for you. This is your time to be selfish and antisocial and get that book down on paper. Don’t stop moving. Like a shark, you need to keep swimming. (Yes, we all know that sharks don’t need to keep moving or they die, but you’re also not really swimming, so let’s just go with this analogy.)

If you’re stuck, rewrite one of your scenes from the viewpoint of a different character. Send your characters on a trip to the zoo. Add a kitten. Kill someone off and bring them back. Write a scene with your protagonist on their first day of school. Browse Pinterest and write a scene about an image that grabs you. None of these words might be included in a final, edited version of your novel, but the point of it is to keep your momentum going. You might find your story taking an unexpected turn, or you might find out something about your characters that fleshes them out for you.

Keep going. And remember that editing is for December.

I give you permission to respond to this post and update us on your progress before getting back to your novel.

Inspiration: Published NaNoWriMo Novels

Dimple of Doom Cover

Anna and the French Kiss Cover

Spookygirl cover

(Are you still here? You should be writing!)

NaNoWriMo Wallpaper

Published by

[E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of powderroom.jezebel.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at slay@persephonemagazine.com. She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

9 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2013 — Second Check In”

  1. I’d fallen a little behind over week 1, but then on Wednesday (one of my days off) I got into a solid groove and caught up completely! And then I was too exhausted to write yesterday and I’m not feeling all that great today.

    Gonna try to write a little, pass out, then catch up more later.

    I’m starting to get to the part of my story where shit starts happening, damnit!

      1. Hell yeah! I ended up not writing for 2 days (apparently I have an inner ear infection, so no wonder I was feeling like crap), but yesterday I picked it back up and got 1.7k more under my belt. And I’m writing more today. The groove isn’t coming so easily but I’m forcing through it. Gonna get that 1667 words, damnit!

  2. I’ve been wanting so much to do this, but felt I couldn’t. Now I’m going to try and commit to doing a “baby” version or 5000 words. I think I can manage that given how Little Juniper is doing at the moment. Thanks for the motivation!

  3. OMG you added me. Smooches, Slay. Thank you!

    Another hard part to weeks 2-3 I think is that you’re approaching the dreaded middle. You’re done with the first rush of ideas, and now you have to make things happen, a lot of them, before the exciting ending. Just know that 1) the middle is hard for everyone — you’re not alone! and 2) you should be cognizant of always building building building toward the climax, like piling pieces on a Jenga board. Everything in your book needs to be necessary for the story, yes, but especially in the middle — keep up the pace and skip the side trips to boredom town.

    Check out Chuck Wendig’s blog (always amazing) — 25 Ways To Fight Your Story’s Mushy Middle: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/06/05/25-ways-to-fight-your-storys-mushy-middle/

    1. Of course! You should contact the NaNoWriMo people to let them know so you can get included on the official publication list (I don’t know how that’s done, I guess you email them).

      And great link. I’ve read some of his other posts but I don’t follow the blog, but maybe I need to rectify that.

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