I am, once again, joining the several thousand fools who are attempting to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. That's a little over 1,000 words a day, to end up with a novel about the length of "The Great Gatsby."
I know I said I didn't want to have two unedited manuscripts laying around--I wanted to finish one completely before starting another--but I changed my mind. My logic is that when I get bored with editing one, I can edit the other! Plus, I've got this great story idea, and I feel like I need to tell it. So I'm going to. (Even though I work 12-hour days, not including my commute.) If things are a little quiet around here for the month of November, it's because I'm insanely doing this insane thing.
If you're interested in joining the madness and fun, but don't consider yourself a writer, or if you're uncertain, I say GO FOR IT! You have nothing to lose! I've done it twice--the first time in 2009, and again last year. In 2009, I didn't technically "win" by reaching the 50,000-word count. BUT, I did write a 30,000-word memoir of my experience selling Kirby vacuums door to door, and I never would have had that manuscript unless I did NaNoWriMo. The point is to just get it on paper. Even if it's crap. Because you can turn 50,000 words of crap into a novel. You can't turn a lack of 50,000 words into a novel.
And I highly recommend joining the NaNoWriMo website! You get pep talks and encouraging emails and can be notified of cool events in your area and connect with fellow writers!
Any fellow NaNos out there? The kick-off is this Saturday, so this week, I'm loading up on inspiration and EasyMac. I thought I'd share some great story-writing resources that I've used in the past. These are helpful whether you're writing a screenplay, a stage play, a novel, or a short story.
Pep talks from the NaNoWriMo website
One of the great things about signing up on the NaNoWriMo website is that you get regular emails from famous authors, offering you advice and encouragement. You can also access all the past Pep Talks here. I'm especially inspired by the talks from John Green, Scott Westerfeld, and Dave Eggers.
John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie's Angels) and Craig Mazin (Identity Thief, Scary Movie 4, The Hangover Part II) are two successful LA screenwriters who do a weekly podcast about screenwriting and things of interest to screen-writers. I've never written a screenplay in my life, but I find SO MUCH HELPFUL ADVICE from these guys. They talk about everything from character to dialogue to plot structure to lying and secrets. Almost all of it has crossover into novel-writing. Check it out on iTunes or here.
Blog Novel Doctor
I stumbled upon this blog last year while looking for some advice on how to get over writer's block, and ended up reading through almost the entire archive. There are tons of resources on how to outline a novel, what to do when you get stuck, and how to keep your head in the game. Check it out here.
Advice from Pixar
Someone fantastic took a bunch of statements and ideas from Pixar about how to create good stories, and put them together in a cool visual presentation called "Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling." There are lots of helpful reminders and good ideas. Check it out here.
Outlining Resources from Creative Writing Now
It can be a little overwhelming to try to tackle something as big as a NOVEL. I'm a big fan of outlines and planning tools--they saved my butt in past years. Some people prefer to write without them, but I find that it helps me stay organized and guided. This website has some great printable worksheets, and you can create your own based on their ideas. I'm an especially big fan of the Novel Outline, the Scene Outline, and the Character Outline. Check out the website here.
And of course, if you just google "novel writing tips," you'll find oodles of resources more.