Tuesday, November 24, 2015

5 Writing Tips to Finish NaNoWriMo

With only a week until the end of National Novel Writing month and achieving the goal of writing 50-thousand words, I find sometimes I slow down this last week.  I was able to get totally caught up yesterday after a few dry days, but now I find myself with one week left and that I need to be on track the rest of the way in order to finish on time.

And Thanksgiving is coming, which may mean very little writing time.

So how can I and YOU get through this final week? Here are a few tips.

1.  Go back and re-read your opening.  With a rush to write a full book in a month sometimes we start off all excited and write some great stuff at the beginning but then we start to slough off and not pay attention. Go back to those first pages and look at how you started the book and remember exactly what you set out to do.  That not only gives me new energy for where I am in the book, but it reminds me of a few plot points I might be missing along the way.  I even usually find some extra sentences or details I might need to add in at the beginning.

2.  Check for notes that you might have made along the way.  Again, because of the drive to write as quickly as possible and to finish the book, I often make notes along the way of scenes that I might need to add back toward the beginning of the book. If they're destined to be in the book, then by all means go back and look at where they might belong and add them in. You won't edit until later, but there is no reason you can't add in missing scenes. For instance, your character needs to shoot the bad buy at the end. Is he/she a marksman? Does she know how to even handle a gun? Maybe a scene with her father at a shooting range earlier in the book can help set up a believable ending.

3.  Give your characters another check. This is similar to the last idea, but it is more on the emotional front. Is there a scene you need to show why your character is acting a certain way as you get toward the end? Go back and add that scene in to give your character more depth. We don't want a lot of backstory up high, but sometimes a few lines during the book about a past event can make the character more sympathetic and believable. Add that in somewhere.

4. Don't be afraid to add in a few more details about the location. We want our stories grounded or set in a location we can see in our heads.  Don't scrimp so much that we don't get that feel. yes, we want to keep our plot moving, but sometimes you need to go back and add in a few extra details to give the mood of the character or the feel of the day or the setting.

5.  Re-read parts of the book. We aren't suggesting editing. Don't get bogged down that way, but check to see if there are places you can add details or extra scenes that might be necessary or better explain the ending.  And as you get to the ending, make certain you are being honest with the way the book ends and with your characters. If there are places where you know you need to make your character stronger, go back and fix them in order to get to your full word count.

We have seven days left, so keep on writing and good luck!

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