10/28/09 Pre-Nano Pep Talk from tiakall

As I write this, it is now 11:49 PM on Thursday, November October 28th.  This means that it is not quite two days until Nano.  It also means that I stay up too late and quite possibly have too much time on my hands.

Ahem.

So, you may be feeling excited.  You may be feeling anxious, panicked, or nervous.  Or possibly all of the above.  Don’t worry, that’s good.  Because in two days and (now) nine minutes, you are going to need all that excited/nervous/anxious/

panicked energy to get a good start on your writing.  Ideally, you want to kick off November 1 with the biggest heckuva bang you can and get a head start on your writing.  Head starts are good.  They make you feel empowered by your ability to not only be making the goal but being ahead, and also give you that comfort of a safety buffer if you fall short some day.  I like to go firing straight out of the gate at midnight on the dot (morning people, this is optional) and have the added benefit of a little writing session before I actually start my day after some odd hours of sleep.

But, oh grand and glorious tia, you cry out, oh she who thinks she is almost as witty as Chris Baty, woe is me, for I have no plot/characters/opening line!  Whatever shall I do, and why am I talking like I am in a Shakespeare work?  Fear not, brave WriMo, for I now shall proceed to pull words of wisdom out of absolutely nowhere (read: making it up as I go along):

* Plot is optional.  Don’t be afraid to have your characters putz through a few thousand words or a few dozen dares before you figure out what the heck you’re doing.  There’s a funny story about that, actually, and it’s called ‘my 2004 novel’ where I sort of forgot to get to the actual plot before I hit 50k.  If you don’t have characters, that’s okay too.  Start with you, your neighbor, how you REALLY think Harry Potter/Edward/Legolas should have been, or a snarky narrator.

* False starts just mean more words.  You may get a few hundred words into that idea you’ve had for three months and then decide in a few hundred words that you hate it.  Yes, I am speaking from experience…again.  If an idea isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to ditch it and throw out your backup idea (even if said backup idea is aforementioned characters putzing through a few thousand words.)

* Don’t write your opening line first.  Opening lines are important, and everyone wants the one that’s not too hot or too cold but just right, the one that makes you sit up and go “THAT’S it” when it comes to you.  Ideally, one would just make all their peers come up with clever things until you hit the “THAT’s it” one, but seeing as we are just a wee bit short on time, if the blank page is threatening to eat you, start with the second line.  There is nothing more terrifying than a blank page, but once you get started, you will get rolling.  Alternately, if you’re having trouble deciding between a few opening lines, write them all.  You can always decide later when you’re not on a thirty day deadline.

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