More important for many of us fans of things that go bump in the night, October 31st is Halloween. Halloween is believed to be rooted in many different origins, all depending on your beliefs. Paganism, Christianity, Satanism, and Witchcraft to name just a few of the origins believed to have spawned what we now call Halloween, a celebration of costumes and children wildly roaming their neighborhoods in search of candy handouts.
It is believed to have originated as a celebration to honor the dead, the end of the summer and harvest, and believed by some to be the one day of the year the dead can cross over to the world of the living (please don’t say ZOMBIE APOCOLYPSE, although I know you are thinking it).
Halloween also happens to be my favorite holiday, the one holiday where you can just have fun and dress up; there are no major expectations of you. It really is all about the kids and filling them with the sugar rush of sweet gobs of candy bliss and a night of frolicking in the dark in ghoulish costumes and trying to frighten the neighbours who dutifully pretend to be frightened. (Now when will *they*, the powers that have the power to make these decisions, get with it and make is a *real* holiday with a day off?)
But, for those of us with a lust for putting words to paper in a form that thrills, excites, angers, and saddens those who read them, October 31st has a different meaning.
October 31st is the last day before the new you, the you who has tackled NaNoWriMo 2015.
National Novel Writing Month, a seemingly senseless annual tradition of writers worldwide.
When dawn breaks over the horizon tomorrow, on the first of November, millions of writers around the world will already be hunched over the glowing screens of their laptops, staring in overwhelmed awe at that lighted screen and willing the words to come.
Tears will flow and coffee will be drank. Millions of writers worldwide will endeavor to pound out a 50,000 word masterpiece in only 30 days.
Yes, we are a crazy lot.
And so are you if you are even thinking about trying it.
Why should you try NaNo?
Are you the kind of writer who agonizes over every word, that it is perfect, that they all fit together, and that you are following all the rules of writing?
NaNo is a good lesson in the first rule of writing. There are no rules in writing. Writing is an art, and thus subjective.
NaNo is about putting aside all those rules that are holding back your true creativity and just going with it. Run naked in the rain, eat supper for breakfast, and use split infinitives. Break free, run free, and just write without giving any though of the rules of writing you think you should be following.
Write without editing. Editing is the magic fix that will come later. When you start thinking about those rules you should be following, remind yourself that is why editing exists, to fix that later.
NaNo can be overwhelming. How in bloody blazes am I going to do this? Well, it’s not as impossible at is seems. And it took me three years of NaNo to figure that out. Notes are your best friend. Any time something comes you to, make a note. I use comments in Word all the time. Highlight a selection of text, and write your note of whatever thought occurred to you.
Don’t let random thoughts slow down your writing process or be forgotten. They can add depth to your story later. Jot them on sticky notes or as a Word comment, whatever works for you. When something hits that should have happened earlier or should come later, jot it down. You can go back to those notes when your creative bug wears out or when you return later to edit your story.
Break down your writing. Just as I tell my kids when they have an overwhelmingly large homework assignment or chore (like cleaning their rooms), breaking down an insurmountably large task makes it much easier. 50,000 words in only 30 days! Really? That’s really only 1,667 words per day. And good days count as make up days. If you blast out 2,000 words in one day, that is 20% of your word goal for the next day too. If you can start strong, keep those word counts up through the first while, when you hit that low midway through the month, you already have a build up of words to get you through the slump.
So, you don’t think you can do it? What the hell am I going to write? What if I get stuck? Outlining is okay. If you need to outline and plan your story ahead, that is perfectly okay in NaNo. The only rule is that you are writing something new. Hell, you can take something from your personal slush pile that you started before and discarded because it was not working and rewrite that. Just write something from scratch, whether it is totally original or a rewrite. Outlining ahead can help you get through those slumps when you feel like you don’t know where the story will go. So will going back on those random thought notes you made.
NaNo is about writing crap and loving it. This is where we ring the buzzer of B.S.
Some revel in NaNo being about writing utter crap. Others disparage it for the very same reason, because they believe that is what it is about and you can only write garbage.
This is NaNo nonsense. NaNoWriMo is about what you need and want it to be about. It is freedom from the writing rules, a personal challenge, a coming together or strangers and friends to support each other and your love of writing. If you want it to be about having fun and writing crap, that is perfectly fine too. You can also accept that not all writers have to write painstakingly slowly to write well.
- Put aside all those rules that are holding back your true creativity.
- Write with wild abandon, no fear, let it be as good or bad as it will be.
- Write without editing.
- Notes are your best friend.
- Break it down. It’s only 1,667 words per day.
- Take writing moments when they come. Every ten minutes of writing adds to the word count.
- Outline ahead if you need to.
- Remind yourself, nobody ever has to see what you write until you are ready to show them.
What kind of dark secret pushes a man to commit the unimaginable, even as he is sickened by his own actions?
Watch for book 2 of the McAllister series coming soon: The McAllister Farm. The secret behind the bodies is revealed.
Link to reviews of Where the Bodies Are on Angie’s Diary
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