NaNoWriMo is Here!!

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NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s here! It’s here! Are you ready? I’m so excited that I stayed up on Halloween so I could start after midnight. I’m already up to 3580 words. It helps that I’m rewriting a book I did last year, but this year is my year and I’m going to finish! Good luck to everyone else! Post your word counts below.

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NaNo Prep #3 – Character

World building is great, solid writing is a must, but if your characters don’t stand out, then your book isn’t worth reading. BOOM.

OK, you say, I want to write amazing, three-dimensional characters. Where do I start?

There are a lot of ways to get moving on your characters, but it all comes down to understanding what makes them work. And before you truly understand them, you need to define a few basics. I searched for character worksheets, and came up with this one from writerswrite.com.

Character Profile Worksheet

Basic Statistics

Name:
Age:
Nationality:
Socioeconomic Level as a child:
Socioeconomic Level as an adult:
Hometown:
Current Residence:
Occupation:
Income:
Talents/Skills:
Salary:
Birth order:
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant Others (describe relationship):
Relationship skills:

There’s much more at the link, but this is a good place to start. For me, I started with a person in my head and then used the worksheet to help me answer some questions I didn’t think of on my own.

Once you’ve filled out some sheets like this one, it helps to write some scenes with your characters as you’ve written them. These scenes are not meant to be in your book; they’re just writing exercises to get you thinking about how your characters interact. You can search for writing or character exercises – there are a LOT on the internet. Nanowrimo.org has some great links there listed in the forums. This will help you see if your characters have more to tell you than you get from a worksheet.

Again, why are characters so important? Ask yourself, if I read a book with a beautifully detailed world, intricate and well thought out, or a realistic setting I could imagine walking into, a world described by the most amazing writing you’ve ever read or imagined and a truly unique plot that just blows your mind

BUT

peopled exclusively by the most generic, boring characters you’ve read a thousand times over, acting with no discernible motivation….

Would you finish reading the book?

No. Because it wouldn’t matter. If you can’t connect on an emotional level with the action or the setting, then it doesn’t matter. Characters are where we connect to the emotional content of the story. But with flat characters, the struggle in the plot has no immediacy; the writing describes a great world but that’s all. You put down the book and forget to pick it back up again. When you finish it, IF you finish it, you don’t care what happened or how it happened. You just vaguely remember a couple of details and then move on.

So we want characters that readers care about. Part of that is in building a great back story, one that may not ever be seen by readers but will nevertheless shape everything we write. And we want to rewrite until our characters and their struggles become more and more real. Sure, our characters may – will! – surprise us as we start writing, but they shouldn’t BORE us.

Hope this gives you a place to start. November is just a couple of weeks away! Good luck!

NaNo Prep #1 – Are You In?

This is the first in a series of articles I will be doing about prepping for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. 

Hey, fellow writers! Next month is NaNoWriMo, and whether you’re a first timer or a repeat, there’s one question you have to ask yourself LONG before November 1st if you want to be a success.

Are You In?

Are you in – as in – are you committed? Are you in this project for the long haul? Are you going to write every day, right up until November 30th?

This really matters, because if you’re just casually committed to your book, you’re not going to finish it. Hey, you don’t HAVE to write a book. But if you want to write, you need to really want it. That’s been my problem lately. I’m kinda half-hearted about writing. I want to finish my book, but I want to finish my other projects too.

So for the month of November, I’m committing to writing every day, for at least 30 minutes a day. If that means leaving the house so I can use a computer, then that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to the library, or getting on my tablet, or using a freaking notepad and a pencil. But I’m going to write.

What about you? Are you going to stick with it, even when you feel like you have nothing to say that day and you really want to go do something else? If you really will write every single day, you can absolutely hit 50,000 words by the end of the month. You can finish. We’ll do it together.

 

Descriptive Writing

I found this article helpful. This is one area where I struggle a little. I typically skip over the descriptions on first writing, then go back and add them later.

There are many different kinds of writing, descriptive writing being one of them. Pretty much everything I found on descriptive writing talked about essay writing or academic writing. Descriptive writing is important for any kind of writing, but we’ll stick to creative writing for now. What is descriptive writing? Descriptive writing is when you give […]

via What Is Descriptive Writing? — Rachel Poli