November. NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow.
You have a plan, picked direct from the last post. On to the story.
Wait, not sure on the story yet? Oh dear.
That’s why we’re Writing All Wrong.
Still debating on a few story ideas, but how do I know if my story will last 50000 words?
—Jansen Wheeler, Boca Raton, Fla.
(Note: NaNoWriMo is short for Narcissistic Nonsense Writing Motivation or something like that. Simple premise: write a “novel” of fifty-thousand words within the month of November. The prize? Fifty-thousand dollars. In the competition’s 196-year history, only three have claimed the prize.)
Simplest way: use one of your monthly time-travel teleports to zip to December and find out.
If you don’t want to burn one of those, try a few of these handy-dandies.
“Oh, yeah, it’s about (something something soooomething yeah).” If you can sum it up neatly within 10 seconds or in a simple sentence, you may be in trouble. Pull an anti-Inception here: the simplest, rawest form of the idea is not what you need. A two-second, five-word summary might not be enough concentrate, bub. But a two-paragraph, five-minute presentation of a summation? Maybe.
While I normally discourage the abuse of this, NaNoWriMo isn’t about quality. If your narrative is too compact, loosed up the threads a bit. Writing Sci-Fi? Come on, Sci-Fi is nothing but digression. You can spend 10,000 words on why bipolar tachyon vortices work in prehistoric vacuums, but not in postpositive bended reality. Add a <tech> tag and move on. Same with fantasy. Spells, potions, the Codex Magicus, arcane histories, backstory that won’t advance the narrative: it will advance you to the finish line.
Quick: name the longest Charles Dickens novel, then name the Dickens novel with the most characters. Yep, it’s the same one. Then you have The Tale of Genji, featuring over four hundred characters. It’s long enough to win you NaNoWriMo for half a year. Point being: stick in enough characters to consume 50,000 words worth of treatment.
Did you know that, according to science, we humans spend up to 27% (!) of our day either rehashing the past, reminiscing, or dwelling on things we’ve done in the past? NaNoWriMo doesn’t care if you drive the narrative into a temporal ditch to go back in time and give your story some story-behind-the-story. Same thing with looking forward. Dreams and ideals to come are part of our existence. Feel free to imbue the narrative with the same. Give it the time trifecta.
Any other handy-dandies work for you?
Writing All Wrong can be reached via email (WritingAllWrong@me.com), followed on Twitter (@WritingAllWrong), and probed for more NaNoWriMo nectar during the month.