Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nano Week 1 Pep Talk

I know I have not been great about blogging lately, but I have been writing tons of stuff. I figure I might as well share some of it with you. Here is last week's pep talk that I wrote for my fellow Charlotte Nanowrimos. I am finding that I really enjoy getting to encourage other people to try their best and keep writing for the sheer enjoyment of it. Do you remember my post on "Our Greatest Fear?" I feel like I have let some of my fear go for the moment and I am finding a new freedom and ease with my writing. There have even been a few shining moments that I can't wait to share!

Anyway, if you ever think about writing any kind of book, I hope this will help you in your journey.

"We are now five days into Nanowrimo, how are you feeling? Have you entered the slump or are the words still flowing freely from your fingertips? No matter where you are at the current moment, we will all experience some ups and downs over the next three weeks. I for one did not sleep at all last night. I kept thinking about my current Nano novel, last year’s novel which is in final revisions, and some strange new ideas that kept screaming for my attention. I finally got out of bed and started writing the non-related ideas down to shut them up for a while.

I was also thinking about how I could help keep you motivated when I am nearing a critical point in my story. Two things kept parading around my mind that I want to share with you. These two things help me keep a steady word count throughout the month, even when I am completely baffled about what should happen next.

1. Always end your writing on a high note. By this, I simply mean stop writing at a point when you have a good idea what is going to happen next. If you end when you are blocked, you will dread starting again because mentally you will prepare yourself to continue being stumped. However, if you end at a point in your story where you know what comes next you will be eager to start writing on the next day.

For example, Tuesday I wrote a scene where Elvin asks his father permission to marry Della, his step-sister (no blood relation) and is refused on the premise that she has been promised to another in order to settle a debt. Elvin does not take no for an answer and when the two are being chased by several men from the village Della is injured. Elvin is so angered that he draws upon his talents as an apprentice Mage and almost kills the men. He is stopped by his best friend who happens to be a dragon. Jenska, the dragon, carries the two humans back to Elvin’s mentor. My last line for the day was as follows:

“When they flew into view of the cottage, they could see Olec standing in the yard waiting for them.”

This was a perfect place to stop because all I had to do was re-read that sentence and my imagination could just go with the ensuing dialogue. So if you are experiencing writer’s block, how do you get out of it so you can stop writing for the day?

2. Use Pacing and Questioning. When I find that I have written myself into a corner and I can not find my way out, I set my main character to pacing. I just write about him/her wandering somewhere confused. Then I start the character monologing asking, “How did I get here? This is not where I planned to be, but now that I’m here, how do I get out of this situation?”

I simply write every idea that my character can think of until I hit upon the right path for him. You will not usually need many words to get yourself moving again. If you feel this is “cheating” you can always delete that section after you “find your way”, but when I started revising last year’s novel I found some of the rambling questions invaluable to making my story better.

I hope this will help you keep writing. Just remember to lock away that inner editor (mine has already reared her ugly head and I had to smack her around a bit to get her back in the cage), and just enjoy creating something that only you can create."

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