Write a 50,000 word (175 page) novel in a month? Yes it's insane, but that's the point. Write like hell, shut down your internal editor (that can come later), and just get it done.
Originally Posted by NaNoWriMo.org
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight.
We're in November now, but it's never too late to join in!
Originally Posted by NaNoWriMo.org
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
We had 141 participants, and 45 winners last year. Can we beat that this year? I think we can!
I (well, NaNoBot) will keep the next post updated with participants and their word counts.
How do I write 50k words?
One at a time. Seriously though, if you can keep up with the benchmark (1,667 a day) you're golden. If you can't, don't panic, just set aside a weekend day or days to play catchup. Or end the month with a manic spree of 10k days. Whatever works for you!
Any other strategies?
If you can, aim for 2000 a day rather than just keeping pace with the benchmark. This leaves you the elbow room for a few bad days later on in the month, which is a huge help for the week 2-3 doldrums. Also, try joining sprints and word wars on the NaNo forums or by following @NaNoWordSprints on the twitters.
How do I update my word count?
NaNoBot reads through the thread and pulls out your wordcounts. Any time you want your wordcount updated, please make a post with the wordcount on a line by itself, using the following format: "WC: [your wordcount]" Commas are fine, including a space or not is fine. Periods used as decimals are not.
Will not work:
"WC: 5000 and 1000 more later" "WC:5.0k" "wc:1000 more than yesterday"
Is there any reason to actually sign up on the site itself?
Yes! First of all, you can have your novel officially validated by the site (copy/paste from your word processor into their word counter). This lets you officially win, and gets you congratulations and all sorts of fame and glory. Second, by signing up, you will get "pep talk" emails each week from famous authors. Good times!
Does my story have to be an original work of genius?
No. It's whatever you want to write. Literary? Go for it. Genre fiction? Go for it. Erotic fanfic? Fuck yea, go for it.
Can I/Do I have to share a synopsis or excerpts?
We'd love to see some of your work! While it's not required, please feel free to post excerpts of what you're working on at any time, or plot details, or character stuff, or whatever you want. For excerpts, I've found that brief ones are more likely to be read.
Does it help you to have other writers around you, to pressure you to get some work done? Join us for the GAF NaNo hangouts! These will happen every Saturday and Sunday during NaNo, from 2-4 PM Pacific time.
Hangouts will take place on Google Hangouts. The format is ten minutes of chat, then thirty minutes of writing with mics muted, repeated until we've gone for two hours. Webcams aren't required, though several of us will have them. Mics are recommended but also not required, as you can use the text chat. (I'm also looking into alternatives as Google Hangouts has been getting worse. But they all cost money!)
I will post reminders about the hangouts, and will post the above info plus a link half an hour before each hangout. The hangout link is (quote to see):
Scrivener: a word processor that incorporates scene and character notes, outlines, research documents, and more. You can get a free trial, generally through December 7th, for NaNo. (And a discount on the full version if you win!)
Q10: an alternative word processor which removes all distractions, helping you focus on your work.
Write or Die: start writing in a text box. And don't stop... or else. Give it a try, very motivating. (also has a desktop version and an app--use the "Try" button to use it directly on the site)
No Plot? No Problem: a book by the site's founder, intended as an aid for completing your novel and getting through the month.
How to Outline During NaPloYoNoMo: Chuck Wendig sums up a bunch of different outlining methods.
Snowflake Method: a solid plotting method that helps you get from single-sentence summary to detailed outline. While I no longer use this, I found it extremely helpful in finishing early NaNos. (You don't need the software, the whole method is described in full at the link.)
Adoptions: on the NaNo forums, it's traditional to leave some ideas that other people can pick up and run with. Adopt a plot, adopt a setting, adopt a title, and many more!
Sprints and Wordcounts:
NaNo Sprints: start your engines! Get off to the races with some NaNo sprints, where you compete with other NaNoers to write a bunch of words in a short interval. Also on Twitter.
Backwards NaNo: a slightly different way of managing your word count. It's amortized! That means for the first two weeks, you're writing a lot more than everyone else. But by the last day, you only have to write a single word!
Past NaNo threads
Previous NaNo winners
Short Story Challenge Thread
Writing-GAF community thread
And, of course, this thread! Feel free to post questions here, or show us your awesome excerpts, or just complain about how goddamn hard it is. We're here for you! The camaraderie is part of what makes it fun. :)