Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Speed Writing That NanoWrimo Novel

Nano (National Novel Writing Month) from November 1st-30th. It’s the writing frenzy where you kick out a large number of words to hopefully finish a novel in record time. Many people start the challenge and end up with a sizable number of pages by the end. Some are inspired to start writing for the first time. Others are inspired to finish something for the first time. Some, like me, find that writing at breakneck speed produces a lower quality of work that doesn’t reflect what is normally produced when writing within your own timing. Truth is, my natural timing is four months from start to finish. I tried to increase my speed and did it without much trouble. It increased by 3 weeks, and for me, that cooking time for a novel fits just right.

There are ways to make speed writing more effective. The overall goal, is to produce more in a shorter period of time. If you keep this up, who knows, speed writing may become a habit.

Prepare for it
When you set out to write a novel in a short period of time, outlining is your friend. Take a week to write a detailed outline of the story. It will help to work out most of the kinks before you even sit down to write. Create character profiles of the main characters and review outline before the start of your writing marathon.

Plan it
If you are going to focus on spitting out as many words as possible a day, then plan it. Block out your writing time for the month. Figure out when you are most productive. Is it in the morning, at night or midday? Make a rule – no sleep unless you have kicked out a minimum of a certain amount of words. Make sure you schedule extra time for working out of corners or temporary writer’s blocks. Make your schedule somewhat flexible so that you don’t get burned out and give up.

Write it
With a printout of your outline next to you and a bullet list of your character profile – start the race. Follow your outline. If you want to go rogue, go ahead, write until the roadblock. If you reach a road block – write anything, take some time off to think on it, then re-work your outline and get back to it. Whatever you do – don’t stop writing. Remember, you will always have to edit it.

Don’t look back
Whatever you do, don’t read over what you’ve written until you are finished. That is an easy way to get distracted. Remember, you’ll have to edit the thing many times before your piece of art is perfected. Just write forward, don’t make corrections, don’t read over it, just push forward and write.

Introducing LM Preston, new Indelibles.
by LM Preston,

A new Indelibles member and author of Middle Grade and Young Adult books. Vice President of Mid Atlantic Book Publishers Association, Co-Chair of Maryland Writers Conference 2012, YA Lit Chat Moderator and co-owner of Phenomenal One Press.

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  1. Invaluable information! I am participating in NaNo this year, but speed writing is not my thing. I do find NaNo good for me at getting the juices flowing and making me write every day. That is the most important thing. Then once a story gets a few chapters in, there's usually no turning back. Love that part! Thank you for the advice :)

  2. Awesome! I'm doing my own version of Nano and getting a full wip done in a couple months. Definitely planning the same block of time every day is a huge help! And welcome!!!

  3. Excellent points for Nano. Congrats on joining the Indelibles (and to Leigh Moore, as well!)

  4. I'm having trouble with the not looking back part, but I'm trying! It's my first year and I'm not sure if I'll make it, but I'm going to keep pushing.