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NaNoWriMo for beginners?

Discussion in 'NaNoWriMo' started by Sparkie, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Sparkie

    Sparkie Auror

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    Ok, so let's say I've heard of NaNoWriMo (which I have), but I'm a little intimidated by the concept of writing an entire novel in a month (which I am). Do some of you NaNoWriMo veterans have some advice, tips, tricks, or motivational words to help people like me who are on the proverbial precipice? Please, help me to get up the gumption to jump in with the rest of you!
     
  2. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    My best advice is write your heart out.

    I've only done NaNoWriMo once, and I never went back to that story, but it's a great experience for beginners and I highly recommend it. Like many of my ideas that didn't have wings, I've since cannibalized anything worthwhile from the story and it has made stories that came after it better.

    In fact, if you are a beginner, you should be putting out as much as possible as frequently as possible. Use NaNo to motivate you to do this.
     
  3. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    There is a HUGE support system at the NaNoWriMo site and even one here if you look for it. One of the biggest things I enjoy about NaNoWriMo is writing with other people trying the same crazy task. If you go into it thinking "This is my chance to write a novel and become successful" then you'll probably not stick with it. As Zero Angel said, you just have to write and write and write because it's fun for you.

    I think there are basically several camps of NaNoers:

    1. I''m going to write a novel this month because it's the only chance I'll get.

    2. I'm going to do this for fun even though I write all the time. I don't expect much out of it though.

    3. I'm going to take this a bit more seriously and perhaps I'll actually have something presentable when I'm finished.

    I don't suggest the 3rd option for your first NaNo. Probably the 2nd one. Some people may ask "Well, why do it then, if I"m not going to try to get it published?" Well, why do anything? Do it because it's fun and you like writing. Think of it as training your writing muscle.

    My number 1 suggestion (I've done the November version, the only one that counts in my opinion, successfully since 2008) is to outline. Making a solid outline before you start will save you tons of frustrating nights trying to hammer out something. Just outline beforehand and follow it and see where it takes you.

    It really is fun, especially if you can find a group to compete with. I'm pretty competitive, so this kind of thing is right up my alley.
     
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    nano is a blast. I've done it, and Phil's bang on, it's about support. I'll post in the nano forum in a bit, with my username, nd I think every season we try to get a team of scribes all in one camp. So look us up if you want to join us. If you dont make your word count, who cares, you tried and will know what to do different next time!
     
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  5. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I think you're 100% correct that this is more for experienced people. It seems that the people that do it year after year do it as a fun challenge to see what they come up with, but it's an entirely different beast once you're an experienced writer. Hell, even after finishing your first full-length novel. More than anything else in my life, I feel like I've "leveled up" after finishing several books and stories. This is why I wholeheartedly recommend NaNoWriMo. It's a grind/slog if you're not used to writing that much, but you will get some great experience!
     
  6. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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    I don't think the OP was necessarily about beginning writers doing nano, but in doing nano for the first time regardless of any experience level.

    But I read somewhere that there groups of secondary school English classes doing this as a challenge to get them thinking about writing, and into the practice of writing, just as a fun thing to do.

    It's my first time too Sparkie.

    I am working on the outline at the moment, so I have some ideas to toy with. Go on, give it a go.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
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  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, I think NaNo is good for all different levels of writers. But I think the OP was referring to people doing NaNo for the first time regardless of writing experience. The first time I did it, it was sort of on a whim. I was not working at the time and getting ready to leave my home country for the first time, so it helped me burn some time.

    One other tip I'd give: set yourself goals. If you can hit 2,000-3,000 or more words a day for about a week and a half, you can pace yourself more in the middle of the month (around week 2 or 3) when things start to get slower.
     
  8. Sinitar

    Sinitar Minstrel

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    The best advice I can give you is to take NanoWrimo for what it is: A light competition with a single participant and winner: you. It doesn't matter what you write or how many words you managed to dish out in 30 days. You still wrote more than you usually do(hopefully), and that is something.

    What's great about Nano is that you can raise or lower the stakes according to your preferences. A seasoned writer may want to finish and polish a novel he outlined. Beginners simply want to write as much as they can regardless of quality. There's probably a middle group, but my creativity is at its lowest. My point is, don't be too hard on yourself unless you can afford it. Your mentality towards Nano matters a lot, and it's going to influence your work greatly.

    I haven't written in a while, so I'll break out of this stupor by writing a fanfic. Since nobody else will read it, I can afford to write crap. In the end, having fun is what matters the most.
     
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  9. Sparkie

    Sparkie Auror

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    Wise words, Sinitar. Thanks to you and everyone posting on this thread. I'm gonna do it. And it'll probbably be subpar work at best. But what matters, I suppose, is setting a writing goal and achieving it.
     
  10. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    That's the spirit! I'm anihow, BTW, so look me up and add me as a nano friend.
     
  11. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    NaNo's kind of sneaked up on my this year. Normally I'm planning for it well in advance, but then normally I'm an ML and need to plan events, publicity, communication with participants and other MLs etc. This year I'm not an ML (unlike previous years, I now have a full time job. It's one thing MLing NaNo as a student when I have a flexible schedule, but a full time job is something else; trust me everyone, MLing is hard work). Plus last year I sort of caved half way through and didn't do much MLing after that. I blame the job centre for sapping my confidence and making me cry. In any case I've got two short stories to finish this month before I can start thinking of NaNo.

    Best advice? Find a writing buddy. Someone writing something similar to you, who you expect will write at a similar pace to you. Have word wars with them over the internet (or in real life if they're in your region) and take time out to discuss your story and theirs at least twice during the month, perhaps when one of you feels a bit low or is behind. The support network NaNo encourages and provides is utterly brilliant, but there's nothing to stop you from taking it one step further and having one person you can call upon come what may.

    Also, as far as the outlining advice goes, it is good advice, but if you're not naturally an outliner don't outline so much that all your passion for the project is used up in the outlining and by the time it comes to 1 November you're all worn out and want to write something else. So outline in just enough detail to retain your passion for the story.
     
  12. KimFrei

    KimFrei Dreamer

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    Well I've been preparing by doing all the research I need and by plotting out my story ahead of time. I have also planned out how many pages I want to write each day. (But... that gets fuzzy... because the novel I write may be longer or shorter that what I initially planned.) I say go for it either way! It is a fun challenge even if you DON'T make it all the way through an entire novel! :)
     
  13. Writeking

    Writeking Sage

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    I am trying NaNo for the first time this year. It sounds like a daunting task, but it seems like it would pay off in the end.
     
  14. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Chilari... what's an ML?
     
  15. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I have two novellas I want to get done in time for Christmas this year, so I am shooting for a double NaNo. I have way too much to occupy my time this month though, so I may have to do a triple to try to get caught up >_<
     
  16. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Municipal Liaison. Regional co-ordinator who organises meetings, arranges stickeres and other rewards, tries to keep people motivated.
     
  17. servenvolley212

    servenvolley212 Scribe

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    I plan on tackling NaNo this year. Should be fun, and hopefully I'll be able to settle into the beginnings of a solid novel.
     
  18. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror

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    Enjoy it. Make the trip half the fun. And if you need some random silliness, well, that's what we're here for.
     
  19. Another first timer here. Can't wait for November so I can give it a shot. Whish me luck!

    P.S. Getting a plot or an outline written down before November is not considered cheating is it?
     
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