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Night of the Living Dead(line)
The Story Book, William-Adolphe Bouguereau
IT'S HERE!!! Tonight, 12 a.m. is the deadline for Nanowrimo, and I can hear keyboards frantically clacking away. I wonder how many people will slide under the wire?
It's been a lot of fun and a lot of frustration writing the last book in my trilogy--and a big relief. Had I have less stress weighing me down I think the book would have been a lot longer and more detailed. It helped a lot to have a story already written down to use as framework but, I think it was originally something like less than 15,000 words, and I had to add 45,000 words more. The grand total (according to Nanowrimo) was 50,736 ... and that was before I went and added a ton of more stuff. Hopefully, this'll all pan out and I can get it published. That's be cool, walking into a Border's and seeing my books on the shelves, make lots of money, and own six castles in England like J. K. Rowling does.
Meanwhile, how many of you out there are doing or have done a Nanowrimo? Have completed it? Have started it? Mildly considered it? I wanna know!
Maybe I can offer some tips for those of you who are having a hard time or want to give Nanowrimo a shot--or even just wants to write a real novel:
1. Understand that no "living" being actually reads your story (read: nothing with a pulse.) When you write and submit your story, you're only giving it to a computer that counts the words and will designate you as a winner should you meet the requirement (although be aware that its always seems to be a few numbers off, so it always helps to write past the 50K mark.) I know some of you are now rather annoyed and saying, "So, what's the point?" The point is to A) most of all, prove to yourself that you can do it and B) give you some actual experience of writing and novel writing to boot (Note: you can't just hold down the "a" button and wind up with 50K "a"s. That's not cool.)
2. You can actually write a fanfic and it'll be accepted because nobody's actually reading your story, so they can't go after you for copyright infringement.
3. You can write in any genre you want: fantasy, scifi, romance, horror, mystery, erotica, adventure, etc.
4. It says in the rules that you can't submit any previous works--submitting something you've already written makes the contest pointless. You have to write something NEW. I mentioned earlier that I took an old story and rewrote it, using bigger locations, more interaction, more fighting (must have big fight scenes), more angst and humor and so on, until I wound up with a new book. You can use an old story as a template, if you must, but you have to rewrite it.
5. I suppose you can get away with a few things, but that's just pointless. Why bother?
6. Write 3-5 pages every day. It builds up fast, trust me.
7. Keep a notebook with you and write down every idea, question, description, etc. that you come up with. Get a little 3" x 5" notebook and a small pen that you can keep on your keyring. Trust me, it's worth it.
8. Read a novel that's related to your story. If you're reading a war novel for example, try Tom Clancy's books, or if you're writing about werewolves, try Alice Borchardt's books. Reading novels set in the genre you're working on helps keep your brain and imagination going.
9. If you're really serious about writing, pick up some writing guides. I've read (and am still reading) a lot of books on writing, but the absolute best I have to say is Stephen King's On Writing.
10. Even if you have a bad case of writer's block, keep writing. If you have a really excruciating case of writer's block, get The Writer's Block, by Jason Rekulak. It's this chunky little book with 786 story ideas, and you might find something that can help get you started again.
11. Some people can write with music on, whether soft, medium or holy crap loud. If you like music, go ahead and pick some songs that remind you of your novel--maybe make a playlist. If you prefer silence, find something that's quiet, and tell everybody you know that you'd appreciate it if they could keep the noise down for an hour or two while you work.
12. Don't push yourself
13. Do your research. You don't have to be an expert on Viking beard styles, but you should know what they looked like. Familiarize yourself with history, culture, food, clothes, weapons, etc. and use it in your story.
14. Read comic books that relate to your story. The Tomb Raider comic series helped me visualize one of my main character's physical appearences. (Aside from that, they're good for a quick mental escape!)
15. Play video games. I was playing a lot of Tomb Raider and The Legend of Zelda when I got the idea for my book. (Again, an escape!)
16. Ignore spelling and grammatical errors for now. Obsessing over them will make writing feel like a chore.
17. Quit spending so much time on the Internet.
18. Find a time that you like to write and stick to it.
19. Find a good writing area to work, preferably some place with low noise and little foot traffic and a good amount of light.
20. Keep a thesaurus and a dictionary nearby.
I think this's good enough for now. Undoubtly I'll write about this again later. Let me know how your writing turned out!