I know that lots of you will be taking part in NaNoWriMo this month so I wanted to share some tips and advice that I’ve picked up over the years. I hope it helps and good luck with the challenge!
- Write something that you would like to read yourself
Just think: if you were a reader, what would you want to read? The chances are high that if you would grab that book off the shelf then other people would too. That’s the story that you should write, something that will please you.
- Ask yourself ‘what if’
You can teach yourself to tease a tiny thing into something else, have fun with it and see the potential in anything – start to see the world in a ‘what if’ way.
- Have a notebook with you
Always carry a notebook. Everywhere. Even if it seems irrelevant, note down whatever springs to mind. You can do so much with a passing thought or a snippet of overheard conversations. Don’t worry about what ‘it’ is going to be, just get into the habit of noting down everything and then when you have your big idea you’ll have material ready to work with.
- Plan your books
I find starting off with a beginning, a middle and an end is vital. The planning stage can take months, if not years. When I’m writing I do it in my office but for planning I like going and sitting in coffee shops – I like the buzz and I like being surrounded by people but remaining anonymous.
- Write your plot points on file cards
I write my key points on cards and Blu Tac them to the wall. Then I stand back and look at the terrain of the story. This way I can decide if I like it and if not just move it around. I also find that during writing the story, something will change so I can move my cards around if needed.
- Don’t worry about the genre
It is really difficult to find your voice as a writer, and even harder if you are trying to fit into a genre. Just write your story and wait for other people to put it into a genre – maybe you’ll invent a whole new one!
- Just keep going
This one is especially appropriate for NaNoWriMo. It is the hardest thing to do but it is so important. Everyone reaches a wall, either a plot hole or a scene that doesn’t make sense but you just have to keep on going to get to the end. Even if it isn’t the best draft in the world at least you have a book to rewrite!
- Drink cocktails!
There is nothing worse than staring at a screen when you get stuck. If I get stuck, I’ll go out with my husband and we’ll order cocktails and talk it over. By the end, we’ve always ironed out the plot and I’m ready to write again.