Enjoying the Woods

I’m sure some of you realized I was posting lyrics from Into the Woods in several of my past emails.

It just works so well for NaNo and our novels.

Your character (and you) are given a task and you must go into the woods to complete it. Unlike the play, we get 30 Midnights instead of 3.

You know this story because it’s been told many, many times and veteran Wrimos all agree:

The path is straight,
I know it well.
Into the woods,
And who can tell
What’s waiting on the journey?

It’s exactly what we’re doing here. And not only that, but like Red, The Baker, Jack, and Cinderella we don’t really want to do this. We kind of have to do this. If we want our wish (50,000 words of novel) we have to go into the Woods.

I’ve been entering the woods for nine years now and it’s always much the same.

The way is clear,
The light is good, 
I have no fear,
Nor no one should.
The woods are just trees,
The trees are just wood.
No need to be afraid there—
There’s something in the glade there…

Just ignore the distractions and relax with your writing in the evenings and when you have time. Even if you fall behind, get waylaid by a handsome prince or devoured by a wolf, you can come back with a few word sprints and be on your merry way.

It’s times like this I wish I could write all the Pep Talks and therefore give you the important verse each week as it comes up, but I’m not so I will just remind you that in the end “all that seemed Wrong was now Right and those who deserved to were certain to live a long and happy life — Ever After.

Unless, like most of us, you do NaNoWriMo again.

But everything you learn there
Will help when you return there

Seven Midnights Gone!
-Xander

The light is getting dimmer — I think I see a glimmer.

The Prologue on Youtube
Ever After on Youtube
Finale on Youtube

The Secret of the Second Novel

Okay, here it is. I’m spilling the big secret to my success during NaNoWriMo.

I write a second novel.

I know. It’s cheating. The Rules clearly state that you start with a new novel on November 1st and write it from beginning to 50,000 words.

Oh wait, I couldn’t link that to the FAQ because they changed the rules a couple years ago.

Traditionally, NaNoWriMo works best when you start a brand-new project. It may be an arbitrary distinction, but we’ve seen that novelists do better (and have more fun) when they’re free from the constraints of existing manuscripts. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate!

We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of “novel.” In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.

That continues the previous allowance for short shorts (as long as they are related) but it’s still not what I’m saying.

I’m saying have a second novel to write in tandem.

A lot of people are mortified by this idea. Professionals say ‘oh god no’, but professionals get a day off, during NaNo, there are no days off. You can’t step away from the project for more than a few hours to work out the kinks you find in chapter 12. What you can do is move to another project.

Normally this would be a bad idea. Working on another project distracts from the first and means you won’t have 50k of either at the end of the month. Someone might say ‘do some worldbuilding’ or ‘edit the earlier chapters’ but neither of those things will help increase your wordcount significantly (though editing a vomit draft does increase your wordcount, not reduce it).

Having and working on a second project means you can continue to write even when your main project is getting tired and allows you to start to enjoy your characters again.

Maybe this means adding some new words to a previous project, maybe it means writing a short story about how your characters got married. In the end it’s about getting more words down and hitting our arbitrary goal for the month.

Defeat Your Distractions

Happy first day of NaNoWriMo! Your LA MLs want to say hello to all the returning Wrimos and welcome the newbies, we are so happy you could join us this month.

So it’s day one, the day you’ve all been waiting for. Either you’ve been counting down the days for months (*cough cough Alexis*) or you’re more like me, wondering where the time has gone.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think 2017 has been a year of distraction. Personal things, work, school, and general life happenings all seem to intertwine into this impenetrable cage of distraction from the passions of life, which in our case is writing.

November is the time to forget that cage. Or rather, to create a key and unlock it, and step out into the world as a writer. It’s a month to declare that you will, in fact, finish your novel. It’s the 30 days that you will put writing before nearly everything else, because you WANT to. It’s four weeks of finishing your 2K a day before Netflix or homework or hanging out with friends. My first NaNo was when I realized that I really could be a writer, and I hope you have that realization too.

We believe in you. Hope you have a great first week and crush your word counts. It’s the honeymoon period. Enjoy it!

You’ll hear from us soon.

Mia, LA ML, Defeater of Distractions