Writing totems aka IDENTIFYING THE WRIMOS

This one is mostly for the newcomers! (If you’ve been around for at least a year, you’ve probably met at least one of the MLs and can pick them out of a crowd.)

But, if you’re new…. How do you identify the huddle of NaNoWriMo participants?

Generally, there’s a laptop for every person present. Occasionally, there might be one or two who don’t have one. A few participants have NaNoWriMo stickers on the lids of their laptops. (MLHGL is one, there are a few other WriMos who stick stickers on everything.)

MLHGL also has the great fun of having a chunk of blue in her hair, a bright red mouse and stickers on her laptop. (There’s a good chance of plush penguins too.)

MLkitkatt  ((((( HGL MADE A MISTAKE. OOPS )))))

Help! I can’t find a time/place to write

This is a thing that a lot of people have trouble with every year.

Finding either the time, or a good place, to write.

Both MLkitkatt and MLHGL have been blessed for sometime with having a job that allows them to have their laptops and write while they’re at work. Most stay at home parents already have a good idea of when their “downtime” is and adjust accordingly.

But what about students and people with full time jobs?
.     When MLHGL had a job that didn’t allow her the opportunity to write while she was at work, she would sit down for an hour or two immediately after work and write. Challenge yourself to X amount of words in a 15 min block. (MLHGL’s personal goal is 500 words/15 min. There are those who shoot for 1k30min, but MLHGL’s wrists do not like that idea.)

Writing in small blocks with “small” word count goals will help you break it down and get it done. In the 500 words/15 minute word sprint blocks, it only takes a little over 3 blocks of time to get the official daily word count goal. That’s only 45 min a day. (trust MLHGL, you will get better at typing, and you will get faster, and eventually, you will be able to train your brain into more than 500 words per 15 min.)

Or, just join in some word sprints. Twitter offers an official nano sprints account, and there are a couple of other accounts that do word sprints throughout the nano season. (They also stay active throughout the year.)

Word crawls are also very good word count boosters, and MLHGL is currently planning to write at least one for every Star Trek, and a few that are just general space themes. (feel free to ask her to message you with links)

One thing to remember though, is that thru NaNoWriMo, you can be selfish with the time you set aside to write in. Tell everyone that you’re doing NaNoWriMo, and that when you’re focused, (and maybe have headphones in), that you don’t want to be bothered. Not because you don’t love them (or want them to starve…) – but because you’ve challenged yourself to write a book, and you’ve only got a month to do it in.

NaNo2016 – Research!

Research – probably the only thing more distracting than the general internet for authors. Why? Because most authors I know love to learn, and research is self-guided learning. The only other thing more distracting is social media (currently included in the “general internet”), and we all know that we probably have a problem with being distracted with social media. Find a seat and kick back with a notepad, MLHGL is here to talk research!

So, if you’re here before November 1st, you’re probably doing a great deal of planning in advance of NaNoWriMo (and are probably a planner, which MLHGL is not). You’re doing research. You’re getting your information together so that you don’t get things too terribly unbelievable in the first draft. Though, I will admit, once I’ve written a couple thousand words, I have enough of an idea about my plot to know a few points I should research and that’s always a good thing.

If it’s during November when you’ve come to visit this page, well, you’re probably wanting to make sure that you either do or do not need to do some research. If you’re asking that question, then yes, you probably do need to do the research.
Reasons why research is a good idea:

  • Knowing what kind of weapons your characters might use!
  • What kind of food is realistic?
  • How long, on horseback, from point a to point b?
  • What colors of clothing they might wear?
  • Were there windows in the castle, or arrow slits?
  • Would XYZ type of lifeform be able to easily survive in ABC sort of climate?
  • What star system is closest to earth’s?
  • Is there a Walgreens or Starbucks on that corner?
  • Is the coffee shop crowded or deserted at 2 in the afternoon?
  • How large is the fallout zone of a nuclear blast?
  • Pants, skirts or kilts?

There are many, many things that just a little bit of research can help you with that would make your story that much more realistic.

Some of these questions can be answered by books, some by the internet, and sometimes you need to just ask your crowd of fellow Wrimos if anyone might know the answer to that question. Google StreetView is an amazing tool too.

ML_HGL will be offering easy access to a book called “How to Find Out Anything” any time she’s around – which can help you figure out how to word your search terms for maximum results.

I’m going to point out something here though: If you aren’t in a position to give to National Novel Writing Month, and would like to know of a way to donate anyways, use GoodSearch – register for an account with them or use your facebook account to log in and choose NaNoWriMo as the cause you’d like to donate to. Each year, NaNoWriMo receives between $2,000 and $6,000 as a result of GoodSearch’s offers and from those wrimos who use the service. GoodSearch gives a penny for every search done with their service, it adds up.

Generally, during NaNoWriMo itself – I will usually use GoodSearch myself for everything. (ML_HGL)

NaNo 2016 – PLOT CHOICES

How Do You Choose a NANO PLOT?
I’m MLHGL, checking in with you to repost the original chat about choosing a NaNoWriMo plot.

For those of you older NaNos, you’ve more than likely already gotten your plot idea. For those of you who are just joining us and have no idea what you want to write about, I’m here to tell you about some of the methods by which both Planners and Pantsers figure out what they’re writing.

First, I want to tell you about a tiny difference that makes a significant amount of information change for every step. Planners and Pantsers, and then Rebels are the three primary NaNoWriMo participant types. Planners plan out every step of their writing process – and generally are working from an outline or a storyboard. Pantsers have two or three forms; but generally are known as the ones who either have no idea what they’re writing until November starts or just know their Main Character. A Rebel is a person who isn’t starting a whole new work for NaNoWriMo – but is either editing, adding to an older WIP, rewriting, etc. Most Rebels fall into the category of being a planner, because they’re already more than halfway there, usually.

But for the Planners who aren’t rebelling and the Pantsers, how do they choose a plot?
Most of the Planners ML_kitkatt and I have spoken to usually indicate that they choose something that they more than likely have made note of earlier. Either a news item, a picture, conversations, something one sees triggers a thought that can expand into an entire story idea. Some planners even write full time throughout the year, and use NaNoWriMo to get plots that they had to shelve throughout the year off the ground. Planners are generally getting ready for NaNoWriMo between one to four months early. Why? Because they’ve determined how long it takes them to get their plot outline written and a character list.

Pantsers fall into two sub-categories really. The first one is a blend of planner and pantser (a plantser)– and they’ll generally start with an idea, or the basis of a plot (which pretty much is more like a one sentence plot start), or a character and go from there. A total pantser doesn’t even bother to do anything except maybe pick a genre in advance of starting writing on Day 1. I myself am more of a plantser. ML_kitkatt generally is a plantser as well, but she may argue with me about it. ( ^__^ )

Check out a few of the WriMos we asked questions of:
AdmiralCarter, Leslie the Inkweaver, WaterSinger, kiryuu-chan, Adoramei, Trilleth, miriania.