As promised, here is the second installment of my suggestions for how to write a novel in thirty days (during NaNoWriMo).
The Public Place
What is it? Find a comfortable place outside of your home to work. Try a coffee shop or a library.
When you work on your own, maybe you aren’t as productive because no one is watching you. Or maybe you are really good at concocting reasons you cannot write like washing the dishes, vacuuming, organizing your closet by color and season. Maybe the new The Walking Dead was on last night and you need to catch up. A public place can remind you to focus; usually there are other writers in coffee shops working on various projects, too, and their concentrated energy can have a positive effect on your writing. If you go somewhere with delicious coffee, there’s your bonus.
What can go wrong? Maybe a public place is just another place for you to be unproductive. The conversations around you might distract you, or you might see a friend and decide to catch up over a coffee instead of getting any writing done.
Tip: If you do get distracted by conversations around you, here’s a fun exercise: write down the conversation(s). It’s good practice for writing realistic dialogue.
The Quiet Place
What is it? In contrast to the public place, a quiet place is your go-to writing place where you can be alone and think clearly. There’s a mood, a time of day, and a setting that helps you be your most creative. Think about it a moment: if you’re reminded of a particular place in which you’ve produced some excellent writing, this method may work well for you. Even better, if you’re in your own home, you can choose to have music on or off, have windows open or closed, and work clothed or in the nude. Personally, I like having a quiet place, and I also find it good to have a wall in front of me to cease distractions.
What can go wrong? Maybe you don’t have a quiet place to work in, or maybe you can’t stand the silence and it starts to make you sad, especially if you’re writing a tear-jerker. You might become obsessed with making your space perfect instead of using your space to write.
The Snowflake Method
What is it? Read here.
What can go wrong? There is a lot of pre-writing. Maybe you don’t like to plan your characters out ahead of time; you just want to wing it. Maybe you have a general idea, and writing your novel is how you figure out more about everyone and all the settings within the story.
Write the End
What is it? Write the ending of your novel first.
Maybe you don’t know what your book is really about, and maybe you don’t know how to start it; maybe there is one thing you really do know: the ending. Perhaps you’ve thought about what you want readers to walk away from your book feeling. You know what is going to happen to your main character(s), but you don’t know how they are going to get there. That’s OK. You can write your ending, even just your last paragraph, and write your novel as a way of figuring out why that is the ending. You may be propelled toward the completion of your novel by the mere excitement of putting the puzzle pieces together.
What can go wrong? You might fuss about your ending as you write your story. When things don’t add up, it may frustrate you too much to finish what you’ve started.
Check back for my final installment later this week!
– Allison Bellows