It is week 2. Day 12. Technically week 2.5. Already, NaNo participants, you have done incredible things. For example, Germany who have a combined total of 31 MILLION words from 3,787 people so far (I didn’t realise this region scoreboard existed–it’s really cool!). Week 2 is all about rolling out from week one with a purpose: you know your characters, you know what they want, you know their world–now you can get down to creating drama; the beautiful snowy hill is in front of you and it’s time to get on that sledge.
If instead of this, you’re still struggling with the actual forming of your snowball story, don’t worry. As the data from the region scoreboard indicates, there are so many people in your shoes. But you’ve started and you’re going to do this thing! I’ve compiled some games, some tips, and some very fun quotes from authors to try and help all of you, struggling or not, to stay motivated. Hope they help!
- Go find a dictionary (or if you are not lucky enough to possess this useful artefact, then use this random word generator I found). Close your eyes and flip to a random page. Keep your eyes shut and point at the page. Now open your eyes and write down the word your finger was closest to. Do this four more times. Now give yourself between ten and twenty minutes to use all five of these words in your novel. Ideally, do this with fellow NaNo participants, and then read out just the sentences with the five words in them and enjoy the chaos.
- I double dare you! For this, you need another person who’s willing to come up with a dare. They’re an even better person if they let you dare them in return. Here are some example dares: “Write a scene which is only dialogue, where one of your characters can only answer questions with the same word every time,” “Pick a scene you’ve already written, now rewrite it from the point of view of a mundane object in the background (i.e. a park bench) and see what changes!” Once you have your dare(s), set a timer for between ten and twenty minutes and compete against each other, or against yourself to see how many words you can write following the guidelines in the dare. It doesn’t matter if the dare you get doesn’t seem to fit with your novel–week two is all about exploration and really getting to know your characters, think of the dare as a fun way to do this (and boost your word count!) that doesn’t have to be part of the actual novel. After all, that’s what editing is for!
Inspiring Quotes by Writers Even Crazier Than You:
“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” ― Terry Pratchett
“I am neither spontaneous nor ready for anything.” ― David Rakoff
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ― Franz Kafka
“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.“ ― William Carlos Williams
My Tips for Week 2:
At this point, you’ve either started to peter out, or you’ve hit a good solid rhythm. To stick with the earlier analogy, you’re either creating a lovely, firm snowball or everything has melted into a puddle of broken dreams. For your sake, I hope you have a snowball. But if you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. We’re heading into the roughest part of the journey: week 3, where all your ideas seem to be gone and your eyes aren’t sure what words are any more. So your ‘lack’ of ideas, could just be the hard part coming a little soon. Or, it could have something to do with what you’re writing about. All good stories need conflict–it’s what makes the plot exciting and engaging, but it’s so easy to overlook this part, especially when you’re pantsing a 50,000 word novel in a month. You may have given your characters too easy of a time. Try upping the tension by giving them more to be afraid of. What are the stakes? How can you raise them? How can you make your MC afraid? Try experimenting with the possibilities or digging deeper to figure out what’s really going on and who the ‘bad guy’ is.
Most of all, just keep writing.
See you in week 3!!