Validation Begins!!

So, Validation begins this year on the 20th.

What does that mean? It means that those people who have already crossed the 50k line can go ahead and get their purple winner’s bar.

Now, I (MLHGL) suggest that as soon as the validator opens up that you go ahead and run your main word count file through it. You’re probably wondering why. It is quite honestly because until the validator opens up, you have no idea if your word count method will line up with the NaNo validator. Yes this is a valid concern. Every program counts words differently, and the NaNo Validation Bot is no different. Personally, I like to see how bad the gap is as early as possible so that I can make sure that I don’t get a nasty surprise when I do my final validation in the last couple of hours on the 30th.

I have seen it happen, and I highly suggest that you check the validity of your count as early as possible so that you’re already in possession of a pretty accurate estimation of how many words your counter is off in relation to the NaNo Bot. (I tend to be as close to a thousand as I can manage when I check my count. I’ve been known to copy and paste out the words from above the nearest thousand down to the three zeros so I can tell exactly how far off the count is.)

Take it from a NaNoVeteran who has been around for 13 NaNoSeasons. Validate every day from when it opens to the end of NaNoWriMo.

Week 3

The notorious NaNoWriMo killer, the week 3 doldrums are a pain in the rear – even for the most seasoned of NaNoWriMo participants. Trust me when I say you’re not alone. However, you have made it FOUR DAYS into week 3. This is amazing! Today is day 18 of the overall challenge and you’re zipping along! You should be crossing 30,000 words today.

If you’re not, have no fears, you still have 13 days to try and get caught up. Apply your creative rocket launchers liberally.

If you feel that you’re too far behind, consider this: you’ve gotten a lot farther than you would have if you never even started, so why quit? Even if you don’t cross the 50,000 line, you’ll still have a good start on a manuscript.

You’ll still have however many words you’ve already written, and hopefully a few thousand more by the end of the month.

Don’t give up yet. The middle of any project is always the absolute hardest thing there is about anything. We’re just a little bit over the hump – you’re almost into the serious downward swing and everything is generally smooth sailing from about the 20th on out. Stick it out with us until then, and hang out with us on the 26th at the Blues City Write-A-Thon over at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library! More info on that at the link above!

May the words be with you!

WRITER’S BLOCK

You know the symptoms. The blank page, the condescendingly flashing cursor bar thing, the itch to open a new tab in Chrome and just check Facebook or something “really quick”. You have… dun dun DUUUNNNNN writer’s block.

As your intrepid ML kitkatt, I know the struggles. Don’t let my word count so far fool you, I have faced (and sometimes beaten) the monster of writer’s block. It is super easy to fall into the trap of writer’s block at any time but a lot of people are even more prone to it during NaNo season.

So, why am I here, writing a terrible blog post for you? Well, here are five of my tips and tricks to beating writer’s block (at least for a little while).

  • Move on – Okay so this one sounds a little condescending but hear me out. If you’re stuck on a scene, it is 10000% okay to just move out. Get out basic details and then move on to another scene you’re super excited to write.

  • Try to get inside your characters’ heads – I’m one of those writers that can have almost full conversations with their characters (they drive me insane). So this one especially helps me. Let them guide you if you’re not sure how they would react in the circumstances you’ve put them in to. If they derail the story, let them. You can fix it later (after November) if you hate.

  • Talk to someone – seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I have babbled to my husband about my story and then get a brilliant idea about what to do next. Don’t have a SO you can harass? Use the forums or the FB group to talk to people! Talk to writer friends!

  • Prompts – “But wait, kitkatt,” you might be saying, “why prompts? Won’t they derail you even more?” And to be honest? Yes. They probably will. (Or not, depending on the prompt) But you know what? It gets you to write more and can spark more ideas in your novel. If it doesn’t end up in the “real” draft of your novel later, who cares? Editing is for December, word count is for November.

  • This is a draft – One of the big things that helps me is knowing that this is a draft. This is the roughest rough draft to ever rough draft it. Whatever you don’t like later, you can purge with the fires of an inner editor scorned. But that doesn’t matter right now. What matters now is translating what you see, hear, experience in your head onto the paper so maybe one day, someone else can experience it too. There is a reason why the NaNo motto is “Don’t get it right, get it written.” We all struggle with this and I know it but somehow, it really makes it easier for me.

Okay, I think that’s enough babbling from me for now. But seriously, writer’s block is just you thinking you can’t do it. And you know what? I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that for a single second. If you are attempting NaNo, you are an awesome, amazing author and need to just keep going.

I hope my tips will help.


<3

Useful Links & Word Count Tricks

WOOHOO! You’ve made it through the fist 7 days of NaNoWriMo and you’re going strong. As of last night, you need to be at approximately 11,669 words. Today’s goal is 13,336 words.

Are you not near 12,000 words? It’s okay. I promise. I’m here to bring you some word count tricks and more useful links today.

USEFUL LINKS:

Written? Kitten! – You know what’s good? Kitties. Or puppies and bunnies. They help when you’re writing. Just think about that for a minute. Little fluffy animals! Especially virtual ones that won’t lay on your laptop and/or hands while you’re trying to be productive. You can set your own goals and get a kitten however frequently you’d like.

Character Questionnaire – An easy form to use for when you want to get to know your characters

She’s Novel – blog with lots and lots of good information about writing. Some posts include information about world building, writing every day, and overcoming your doubts.

Creative Writing Tips – Some tips for novelists with other articles.

Word Count Trick:

Probably the oldest word count trick in the book is to not use contractions. It’s actually a pretty useful trick to also make you actually look at the words when you’re editing later. Why? Because the words read so stiffly when there are no contractions. You pause in certain places differently when the contraction is there versus when it isn’t. Take for example these two sentences:

“It isn’t something you’re going to want to know.”  (9 words)
versus
“It is not something you are going to want to know.” (11 words)

The first sentence reads pretty smoothly. The second sentence has a built in stressed word where your brain might bring your reading eyes to a temporary stop. It’s going to catch your eye because your brain is almost certainly not used to reading all the words that usually are folded into contractions.