National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has rolled around again. If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month and thousands of people around the world take part in the challenge.
I almost attempted it this year. I have my (probable) next book outlined and ready to go but my schedule is jam packed and I’ve been taking a bit of a break from writing. Adding the pressure of NaNoWriMo would have been bad for my mental health.
But lots of people are attempting NaNoWriMo. If you’re one of these people then you’ve hit the halfway mark. Maybe you’re excited because your novel is hurtling along and you’re on track to finish your first draft by the end of the month (that’s a lot of your/you’re). Alternatively, you’re not. Maybe every day is a struggle and the pile of words remaining looks like an insurmountable hill to climb.
If that’s you, it’s okay to abandon NaNoWriMo. You’re not a lesser writer because you haven’t managed to crank out a completely arbitrary 1,667 words a day during a pandemic. Take a break, refill your creative well then jump back onto the writing horse when you’re feeling refreshed.
BUT if you do want to continue, maybe you just need something to unclog the words. Which is where NaNoWriMoLax comes in. I’ve prescribed this particular medicine a few times (here, here, here, and here) but here’s a (probably, I didn’t check) new dose of 50 plot twists to get your words moving again.
- A tsunami slams into your characters
- The moon crashes into the planet
- Time travellers!
- Giant underground worms burst out of the ground
- Your main character loses their voice
- The sun goes out
- Norway/England/Australia disappears into the ocean
- A giant lizard appears
- A new love interest arrives
- Your antagonist clones themself
- Twitter goes down
- Your main character is kidnapped by their Uber driver
- Your main character begins to hear the voice of Morgan Freeman in their head
- An army of giant ants swarm your characters
- Someone steals your protagonist’s clothes
- The main character’s mother is an alien
- The protagonist goes to sleep and experiences the life of an aspiring singer in the 60s. (You should watch Last Night in Soho)
- A billionaire backs your protagonist
- A billionaire backs your antagonist
- The ground collapses
- A new ice age arrives
- Vampire bees!
- Your main character’s identity is stolen by a race of pan-dimensional travelers
- Someone poisoned your protagonist
- Your main character becomes deathly allergic to something
- An army of psychically animated Funko figures attack the characters
- The characters find a stray puppy and have to nurse her back to life
- A giant penis shaped space rocket crashes into the main character’s home
- The antagonist goes to sleep and experiences the life of an aspiring singer in the 60s. (Seriously. Just watch Last Night in Soho)
- An aging slug smuggler comes out of retirement to help your characters/the villain
- A politician achieves something positive
- The protagonist decides to attempt NaNoWriMo and finds love/insanity
- A giant hailstorm arrives
- Dance off!
- The protagonist is the antagonist’s father
- A bridge collapses
- An assassin tries to kill your main character’s best friend
- Your main character’s best friend is an assassin
- Giant cracks open up in the ground and a race of underground people rush out
- Your main character is really a doppelganger switched at birth by the villain
- The Titanic drops from the sky
- The main characters are kidnapped by giant eagles and dropped into Middle Earth
- Someone left the gas on!
- The antagonist’s best friend goes to sleep and experiences the life of an aspiring singer in the 60s. (I’m not kidding, go and watch Last Night in Soho)
- An ill wind blows
- The earth’s gravity begins to fail
- The main characters go back in time to stop the invention of sliced bread
- The villain is really an armadillo called Derek. His goal all along has been to teach humanity about the dangers of climate change but due to a collision with a mobile wig shop in his teenage years he is now haunted by the ghost of his childhood sweetheart who was kidnapped by an insane cantaloupe farmer in an attempt to create a bizarre cantaloupe-armadillo hybrid and bring down an international fruit smuggling ring. Your main character joins forces with Derek the armadillo turning the novel into a feel-good buddy comedy with a powerful ecological message at its core.
And if none of those work then here’s a suggestion I made back in 2015:
The hero is dragged back in time to the beginning of the novel but his memories are intact so now he has the opportunity to go through all the same events again but behave slightly differently, even if it’s only saying something slightly different so now you can basically copy out everything you’ve written up until this point and just change a few words here and there – that should be enough to get you well on your way to 50,000 words (just don’t cut and paste it, write it out or it’s cheating and no one likes a cheat)
Or you can go to Written Kitten and reward yourself with a new kitten picture every 100 words you write. Or you can just come up with something yourself (don’t worry, I won’t be offended).
Whatever you choose, good luck and let me know if you do manage to hit 50,000 words by November 30th.
Until next time. Stay safe.[NaNoWriMoLax 2021 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 15th November 2021]