by oll guest

3 Writing Games to Help Build Up Your Word Count

Although the going can get tough during week three of NaNoWriMo, there are lots of things you can do to either catch up or keep up with your word count goal! Participant Caro Flanagan shares some of her favorite writing games to make the work of writing your novel fun again:

When I say I’m a Girl Guide leader, people usually think I’m all about knots and camping and eating s’mores. Yes, the Guiding life does include those things, but when you know a person in the wonderful world that is Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting, you are in luck–because not only do we have songs about pretty much everything, we also have activities for just about everything as well. So here are some for the days when the word count is down, the ideas run dry, and walking on the moors to aid creativity just isn’t going to happen:

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3 Tropes that Can Strip Nuance from Your Story

Tropes and cliches can be hard to avoid, especially when you’re working within specialized genres or categories. Author C. Chancy, also known as Vathara, shares three tropes she tries to avoid:

I currently write in two genres or categories: urban fantasy and fanfiction. I’ve found that many stories in both these categories can lean toward the following tropes… and end up losing something along the way:

‘Dark and Edgy’ to the max. 

The lone hero fights the good fight, but the villains keep getting stronger, the stakes higher, and the light at the end of the tunnel dimmer. We dip into the villain’s headspace more often than not; as if we’re only interested in the mindset of someone bound and determined to do Evil.

These stories lack Hope.

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NaNo Trick or Treat: The Red Wire! No, the Blue One!

Everybody knows that Tumblr loves Halloween, and that Halloween heralds the start of NaNoWriMo! To get into the holiday spirit, we’ve asked Wrimos from around the world to share the best “trick” and best “treat” they know to help themselves reach 50K in November. Today, participant Marissa Monteiro shares how to disarm the ticking time bomb of your novel:

I must begin this post with brutal honesty: last year I attempted NaNoWriMo and I did not win. This was not a complete surprise given that I had no story in mind, made no preparations, and did not heed any of the warning posts about how hard it is to actually write 50,000 words in a month.

It was a sobering failure, but by the time Camp NaNoWriMo rolled around in July, enough time had passed that I was able to convince myself all over again that I could take on an unreasonable writing challenge. But this time? I WON. I learned from my mistakes and did not repeat them. If you are on your way to becoming a loser-turned-winner like me, here are two ways to trick yourself into the sweet, sweet treat that is reaching the word count goal.

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I Published My NaNo-Novel: 4 Things I Learned from Teaching Revision

During January of our “Now What?” Months, we’re talking to Wrimos who’ve published their NaNoWriMo projects and asking them how they got there. Today, Alison Stine, author of Supervision, shares the novel-revision lessons she learned as a teacher of English Composition:

For years I taught English Composition to first-year college students. And while grading 90 or more three-paragraph essays every other week is probably not the best day job for a writer in need of time and creative reserves, it did teach me a lot about revision. The best way to learn something, really learn it, is to teach it. And there’s no greater crash course in revision than staring down a pack of hungry teenagers who want specific ways to improve their writing.

My first published novel, Supervision, was written one hectic November. I wrote fast and I wrote hard. I wrote messy. Very very messy. And what I was left with at the end of the month was a single-spaced, frequently-misspelled, sometimes confusing ball of words.  

What comes next is still my favorite part.

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Finding the Courage to Share Your Writing

Writing doesn’t have to be a solo activity. In fact, creativity and productivity are often stimulated by writing with company. Today, participant Chris Knight shares how to find the courage to share your writing… and what to look for in a reader:

Sharing your work with other people can often be troublesome. There’s always this weird feeling living on the inside of your skin that scares you into keeping your writing to yourself. You’ll think maybe if you don’t show anyone what you’re doing then you’ll be safe. 

All writing is subjective. I learned a long time ago that you can’t appease everyone. You’ll never write something that 100% of people enjoy; no matter what, there will always be people that don’t enjoy what you’ve done with your words. The sooner you realize that as a writer, the sooner you can let the words flow free.

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