Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Shift your goal away from word counts

Events such as CampNaNo and NaNoWriMo focus so heavily on word counts, but to some that word count target is daunting and out of reach. These events, while rewarding high word counts, are actually about developing a habit for writing — a little more everyday. As such, shift your goal away from word counts or pages. Aim to finish that chapter today, or that scene. In the end, the word counts don’t matter; the fact that you’re writing does.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Can’t see the scene? Make notes and move on.

When writing a first draft, don’t feel obligated to write every single scene out in full. Sometimes our imaginations just don’t see the little details — fight scenes, in particular, can be the most complicated to write because you might not be sure whose POV you should be using. Make notes about what you can see. Write down the details that are vital that you do know. Then move on. The nitty-gritty is something that you can always come back to when you have a few more details.Read More

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Small steps are needed to make the giant leap.

You hear it often, but how many actually listen: take that big goal and divide it into smaller, more manageable chunks. This a philosophy can be applied to every aspect of our lives. For a writer, this means looking at that draft in sections. If you’re writing a first draft, but aiming for a specific word count (like one would during NaNoWriMo), you don’t try to get your full word count in one night (unless you’re a masochist). Instead, you write one chapter, one paragraph, one sentence at a time. It’s the same with editing. Even a long jumper needs to take those smaller, running steps before they can make the giant leap.Read More

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: CampNaNoWriMo is about building a community

For those participating in CampNaNoWriMo, keep in mind that these sorts of events are actually about building your writing community. Yes, you are working toward a word-count goal, one you’ve specified, but there is a reason that they encourage participation in cabins. Get to know the others in your cabin and start networking. You’ll need that support as you continue along your writing journey.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Get the contact details for your NaNo buddies.

If you forged any good working relationships with anyone during NaNoWriMo, bonding over NaNoWriMo, ensure that you have devised a way in which you can stay in touch after NaNo. Don’t rely on the NaNo mail system. Some people only check their NaNo mail during NaNo, or in the weeks leading up to NaNo. Come December, some don’t bother to log in again until the next year. This is particularly important for events like CampNaNo, where the cabins are shut down shortly after the event is over.
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Time to Add Zombies to Your Manuscript

We are midway through the month and many writers are pushing themselves toward their NaNoWriMo or CampNaNoWriMo goals. It might be just to write the 50,000 words to become a winner. Or maybe they're pushing themselves that much further to complete a full first draft within the span of one month. Regardless, it is roughly about this time of the month when many writers start to lose steam and they feel that their stories are running flat.

Time to add zombies.

It's an old saying, one that relates to how some writers deal with that age old problem called writer's block. Some writers will take the phrase literally and add flesh-eating monsters into their manuscript. Why not? This is NaNo. Anything can happen in our manuscripts. However, those monsters only suit certain genres and only a fraction of the stories in those genres at that.

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Backlit keyboard

Scrivener: Software for the Writer

Many writers spend endless hours writing their precious manuscripts using MSWord or some other equivalent word-processing program. In the initial writing phase, they encounter very little problems. Then editing begins. So too does the grumbling.

The filesize increases dramatically and previous versions of certain chapters are lost. To move a chapter, the cut-and-paste hell takes over. Versions are sent out for review, resulting in hundreds of copies of the manuscript. (Exactly which one was the one I was working on?)

Here’s the situation: I have NEVER liked MSWord. Read More

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: A story’s completion is not determined by word counts

NaNoWriMo and CampNaNo reward high word counts, but a story’s completion is not determined by word counts. A story will follow a progression of events from the start and to a natural conclusion. Just because you have achieved your word count goals for the month, have you actually finished that story. If not, keep writing. It’s not finished until you see those words The End. 
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Attend write-ins, even virtual ones

There is something to be said for peer-pressure. If you are surrounded by a group that has their heads down and the fingers pounding the keys of their laptops, guilt will often take over — you should be writing too. Me… I can’t write in the presence of others, I’m too much of a social bunny and want to bounce ideas off of everyone. The solution: virtual write-ins. The organizers of NaNoWriMo and CampNaNo often run virtual write-ins via Twitter and other social media platforms. Check them out. They might provide you with the peer-pressure you need to write, but remove the temptation to socialize.
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