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3 Quick NaNoWriMo Writing Tips To Boost Your Inspiration

3 Quick NaNoWriMo Writing Tips To Boost Your Inspiration

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, you’re around a week into your novel, and your inspiration is flagging.

Professional novelists know that after a week or two of writing, or at around 10,000 words, they’ll hit “the wall.”

The wall is the point at which you think you’re writing the wrong novel.

You CAN complete a NaNoWriMo (or any novel) when your inspiration flags

Amazingly, the wall can seem like fresh inspiration.

A charmingly seductive voice whispers: your novel is boring. You made a mistake. Here’s a MUCH better idea… It’s a guaranteed bestseller. Drop the dreck, and write THIS NOW…

Dismiss the voice, please.

ALL novels hit the wall sooner or later. A “better idea” isn’t. You’ll hit the wall with that idea too.

Here are some tips to give your inspiration a swift kick up the derriere, so that you can complete your novel (whether it’s NaNoWriMo or not) in style.

1. Power through by outlining fresh scenes (even if you don’t know where they’ll fit)

Although the voice intends to derail you, it sometimes has a point about the “better idea.”

Thank the voice, and make a note of the idea it brought you. Tell it that you’ll work on its “idea” next, after you complete this novel.

Now, ask the voice, because it’s the part of your creative self which specializes in ideas, for fresh ideas for wonderful scenes for this novel. Tell the voice that the scenes can be for the setup, the middle portion, or the final quarter of your novel. You don’t care.

Ideas for new scenes will come to you.

Add the ideas where they fit. If you’re not sure, put the ideas into a “unplaced scenes” folder. Scrivener, if you’re using the app, makes creating folders easy.

2. Create differently: dictate, handwrite, or sketch-write to generate words

You can often break through the wall by changing the way you write.

You can:

  • Write in a coffee shop, or write on your phone;
  • Dictate the next few scenes;
  • Write several scenes by hand; or
  • “Sketch-write” the scenes.

When you “sketch write” you write your scenes in all dialogue, or jot notes for them. Tell yourself you’re just playing around, you’re not really writing anything at all.

Oddly enough, when you tell yourself that you’re not writing, you’re playing, your resistance dissolves. It’s a trick, and it works.

3. Rethink: what do you REALLY want to write? (A subplot may help)

The wall gifts you with clarity on all the holes in your plot, as well as insights into problems with your characters.

Don’t panic. Although the voice can be brutal, it’s helpful too, as long as you don’t dissolve into a puddle of tears and despair.

Since the voice tends to toss ideas at you, ask for an idea for a subplot.

Subplots are fun to write. They also make your novel richer.

In Writing Fiction: 3 Easy Tips For Subplots, we suggested some ideas for subplots:

… whatever your genre and main plot, a subplot can add a needed change of pace. Shakespeare often added humorous scenes to his tragedies. When there’s too much gloom and doom, you need a contrast so that readers appreciate the next horror scene.

Whatever your genre, humor is always welcome. Try creating a character or two for comic relief.

Consider adding a romantic subplot, if you’re writing in a genre (science fiction, thrillers, mysteries) which doesn’t need romance. In these genres, a romantic subplot not only aids character development, it also provides a useful change of pace.

NaNoWriMo: onward, ever onward. Keep writing

If you refuse to stop writing when you hit the wall, you’ll discover that you’ll tap into fresh inspiration and will power through your novel.

Use the above tips to regain your enthusiasm.

Have fun. 🙂

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

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Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

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Writing Fiction: How Much Dialogue?

Writing Fiction: How Much Dialogue?

When you’re writing fiction, how much dialogue do you need? a student in a recent class asked.

Great question.

Dialogue happens in scenes, so pacing might be your first consideration. Scenes heavy in dialogue read quickly, so you might avoid writing three or more chatty scenes in a row.

(On the other hand, you might not — “how much dialogue?” is a stylistic choice. Your choice.)

Next, consider your genre.

A psychological thriller might have less dialogue than a romance novel, or a mystery, for example, because the psychological thriller is concerned with characters’ state of mind: their thoughts.

Most importantly however, think about your readers’ entertainment.

Entertainment trumps all other considerations.

When you’re writing fiction, you’re creating an entertaining experience

In revision, look at each scene of your novel. Is the scene entertaining? (Ask your beta readers.)

All scenes can be improved, so check:

  • Your transitions, into and out of each scene;
  • Scene setting: is it clear who the viewpoint character is, and why he’s there?
  • Have you given a nod to time and place? (Check your timeline for continuity);
  • Who “wins” the scene (does every character in the scene have a goal?)

I like writing dialogue, so if a scene’s flagging, I’ll kick it along by adding dialogue, or spicing up the dialogue — anything to add entertainment value.

In revision, look at each scene of your novel. Is the scene entertaining?

What’s your style?

How much dialogue? is always a matter of style. You’re the boss; it’s your style for that novel.

The first time I read Robert B. Parker’s Western novel Appaloosa, I was struck by the amount of dialogue: that’s Robert B. Parker’s style.

As we’ve said, novels with lots of dialogue read more quickly than novels with extensive narrative. Done well, these novels are page-turners. Unfortunately, if the dialogue’s done badly, readers won’t finish the novel.

Tips for better dialogue

Let’s look at some tips to help you to write better dialogue.

1. Focus solely on your dialogue for a scene first (this helps you to write more dramatically)

As I said in this article:

When I write scenes, I write the first sentence, and the last sentence of the scene. I also write down what effect I want from the scene.

When you write “business” — the action part of the scene, description and other narrative — with the dialogue, your dialogue can fade into the background. You pay less attention to it.

Try writing your dialogue first: your readers will pay more attention to it than to anything else in the scene, so you should too.

2. Avoid repetition: it waters down your dialogue

As I suggested in 3 Fiction Writing Tips: Editing For Story Flow:

…when you’re lightly editing for flow, look for any “as you know” constructions, such as: “As you know Bob, my wife Tiffany is an accountant.”

Basically, avoid repetition. Nuke repetitions when you find them.

If you’ve spent three paragraphs describing the sun setting when you open the scene, avoid the sunset as a topic in your dialogue.

3. Keep your dialogue in character

Not easy, but necessary.

From John Sandford’s Silken Prey:

After a couple minutes of silence, Virgil said to Lucas, “At least we know he’s not lying to us now.”

“How’s that?” Lucas asked.

“His lips aren’t moving…”

From Philippa Gregory’s The Queen’s Fool:

I showed him a sulky face. ‘I am commanded by the king, I am commanded by the Duke of Northumberland, I am commanded by his son Lord Robert Dudley, I am commanded by my father; you might as well join in. Every other man in London seems to think he can order me.’

In summary…

Generally speaking, novels today feature more dialogue than novels written even a decade ago. Always however, the amount of dialogue is up to you. Have fun. 🙂

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

Self-Publishing Strategy Made Easy: How To Market Your Books In 15 Minutes A Day

eBook: $5.99

Do you enjoy writing and publishing your books, but find that marketing them is a challenge? You're not sure what works, so your efforts are muddled, half-hearted, and inconsistent.

What if you could market in just 15 minutes daily?

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Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
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3 Time Management Tips: Writing When You Have No Time

3 Time Management Tips: Writing When You Have No Time

Time management is challenging for writers because you can’t manage your time, per se. Everyone has the same 24 hours. You can only manage yourself.

Let’s say that you want to become a successful indie author — but you know that writing books takes time. Depressed yet? That’s OK, because not only do most people have more time than they imagine, they can achieve more, no matter how limited their time.

However, you need to make a decision.

A time management truth: you will NEVER have enough time

It’s true, sadly. Even full-time writers moan that they have “no time.” Your life will eat your writing time if you allow it.

You have a decision to make: how badly do you want to write? If writing is important to you, your writing comes first. Schedule your writing time, then rejig everything else to fit.

Let’s look at our time management tips for authors who are convinced that they have no time.

1. Kill the myths about writing which are holding you back

Here’s the thing. Myths about writing abound. Many are completely incorrect; others are only partially incorrect. Few are true — and even the myths which are true are only true for some authors.

Which myths are holding you back? You may not know, because a myth can be completely unconscious, and nevertheless control your writing.

Myths include:

  • Fast writing is bad writing. You can’t write a book in 24 hours;
  • If your book doesn’t sell immediately, it will never sell;
  • You can’t write 3,000 words in an hour…

There are as many myths as there are writers.

My point: you believe things which are untrue for you, and you’re unconscious of your harmful beliefs.

Try this exercise.

Write this phrase in a new computer file: “The myths about writing which are holding me back include…”

Wait for ideas to come to you. You’ll be shocked at the notions you have which cripple your ability to achieve your writing goals.

Of course, many of your personal myths involve notions about what YOU need to write: “an hour of uninterrupted time”, etc.

2. Dictate your words, it’s faster

Dictation is faster than writing, especially once you get used to it. In the beginning, you’ll feel uncomfortable — persist.

Modern computers include voice recognition software. Read the Help files for your machine, and start talking.

Nuance produces Dragon voice recognition software; it’s worth the expense if you’re making money from your words.

I gave you some tips on how to make dictation work for you here.

3. Adjust your preferences, because everything is a preference

Now for a little Zen. 🙂

Everything you want, or don’t want, is a preference.

If you can become consciously aware of your preferences, and realize that they’re only preferences, you’ll write more, no matter how little time you have.

From Zen Thinking:

Without having a preference of any sort, with no opinion for or against, you become free.

Let’s look at some common preferences.

  • You might prefer to be able to quit work, and become a full-time writer. However, currently you need a day job;
  • If only you could sell 500 books a day, you muse… but most days, you only sell one or two. (You may need to steal a little writing time so that you can advertise more);
  • Perhaps you wish that your partner and children would do more of the household chores. That’s a preference. Tell them that your preferences have changed, and that you’ve drawn up a list of chores for each of them so that you have more time to write.

Time management: you always have more time than you imagine you do

Use our tips to squirrel away more time for your writing — and have fun while you do it. 🙂

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

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Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing

You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day?

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Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

Writing Success Secrets: How To Conquer Self Doubt, And Achieve Your Writing Goals, Starting Today

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Genre: Writing

Today, the opportunities for writers have never been greater. Back in the day a writer who was making six-figures a year seemed a creature of myth. These days, highly successful writers are making six figures a month.

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Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.