NaNoWriMo – Half Full or Half Empty

Philip HarrisNaNoWriMo2 Comments

Okay, it’s the halfway point of NaNoWriMo, or thereabouts. How are you doing?

By now you should be at about 25,000 words, give or take a few thousand. If you are, congratulations, keep up the good work. If not, don’t panic and certainly don’t give up. There’s still plenty of time.

You’re obviously not writing now (after all, you’re reading my blog) so take a few minutes, step back and think about where you are – or aren’t. Assuming you really want to complete your novel…what’s stopping you?

I don’t have time – What can you give up for the next fifteen days? Television? Movies? Shopping? Work? (Okay, maybe not that last one but if you’ve got spare vacation days perhaps now is the time to use them). How about sleep? Can you get up an hour earlier, go to bed an hour later? It’s always possible to find something to give up or postpone – if you really want to.

It’s not good enough – Are you giving in to your internal editor? Are you spending too long crafting the perfect sentence? Don’t worry about quality yet. There’ll be time to revise and rewrite later, NaNoWriMo is an excuse to vomit whatever you can find lurking in your subconscious onto the page – it doesn’t have to be good or even make sense.

I’m blocked – Inspiration can come from many sources – your own experiences, events in the news or random crap on the Internet. Do a random search on Twitter or Google – you never know what you might find. Alternatively, here’s a list of guaranteed* successful plot twists – pick one at random and see where it takes you.

Your lead character discovers something important is missing.
Your hero is double crossed by his best friend/wife/mother/pet.
Someone everyone thought was dead, isn’t.
It begins to rain.
It stops raining.
Someone tries to kill your lead character.
The police/military/clan of evil weevils attack.
It’s a conspiracy.
There’s an explosion (hell if it’s good enough for Stephen King, it’s good enough for you).
The last spaceship off the planet has been sabotaged.
They’ve been poisoned!
The hero falls in love – with the enemy.
Suddenly, there’s an eclipse.
The main character receives a mysterious letter/telegram/tweet.
The dream the hero thought was a dream wasn’t.
The story isn’t taking place in the place everyone thinks it’s taking place in.
Time for a flashback.
The main character is killed.
They were right!
They were wrong!
A stranger arrives with an important message.
The floor collapses.
Fight!
Someone falls ill.
The bad guy is the good guy’s father (I know, I know – this is harder than it looks).
The statue/obelisk/monkey holds the key to the mystery.
It starts to snow.
Jump forward in time.
An apple falls from the tree.
They were lying!
They were telling the truth!
The lead character is set adrift/abandoned/lost.
A porcupine.

If, by some bizarre twist of fate, you manage to find a way to use one of those in your NaNoWriMo (or any other) novel, let me know. In the meantime, whatever your NaNoWriMo obstacle is, don’t give up – just think of the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you have a completed novel under your belt.

* Guarantee not valid anywhere

2 Comments on “NaNoWriMo – Half Full or Half Empty”

  1. This cracked me up and trust me one of these days I will come back to this when Iam stuck and totally use one of your various plot twist incentives lol
    Hope your nano-ing is or did go well… I myself am probably too far behind the count to make the winner circle but I will sure try! LAST DAY… ready set write!

  2. Thanks, glad you liked the post.

    NaNo is too big a commitment for me at the moment unfortunately, but I’ve enjoyed watching people’s progress and there’s been a lot of good, inspirational blog posts.

    Maybe next year.

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