Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? Have you fallen a little behind? Don’t despair and don’t quit NaNo. You can catch up.
Don’t Quit Nano | Catch Up
You have taken on a big challenge. Falling behind isn’t unheard of. You’ve got this. Even if you don’t reach the 50 000 words goal you’ll still have a story to work with. Just don’t stop. Keep going. You’ll have a lot more to work with when the month is over.
First, Do The Math.
How far behind are you and how many words do you have? Now calculate how many words you need. Divide that by the number of days. It’s probably a big number, but hey. Write it down, you can only try.
Why Did You Fall Behind?
- This challenge does take up a lot of time. Can you change your schedule or rearrange a few things to free up a few hours for the next week? If possible, block out that time in your diary. You are going to need a few hours a day to get it done. Remove all distractions. Write all weekend if possible. Write fast(er). Don’t think.
Ran Out Of Ideas.
- You won’t run out of steam if you have a pile of ideas to turn to. Brainstorm as many scenarios for your characters as possible. Go wild. At this stage you want to get the wordcount up. Write a list of action scenes that give your characters something to do. Think dinner parties, outings, alien attacks. The middle of your book is one big brainstorming exercise.
- One of the most common challenges beginner writers create for themselves is to neglect the antagonist. This character does not have to be evil or a criminal. They must simply be in opposition to the protagonist. Do you have an opposition character?
- Don’t stop for scenes that are proving troublesome. Simply write ‘…XXXXXX happens here’ and go on. You can come back later, but don’t lose momentum.
- Remind yourself of your genre. The familiar structure will give you new ideas.
- This is just the fear talking. Don’t listen to your inner critic. At this stage, the critic has realised you may actually finish this book. It will do anything to make you stop. It will sabotage you at every turn. That overwhelming urge to tidy the draw that you haven’t opened in six years – that is the critic. Write your book.
The Last Word
Embrace the suck. NaNo is not easy, but you can do it. Try to catch up and remember, you are writing the first draft. It is supposed to suck. Get over it and write. You will fix it later. First drafts are just that, first drafts. Finish your story.
by Mia Botha
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