Now Novel’s NaNoWriMo Hub: How to be NaNoWriMo Winners

How to be NaNoWriMo Winners - Now Novel's NaNoWriMo hub

NaNoWriMo winners who reach the 50,000-word mark learn how to prepare, persevere and finish writing a novel under pressure. Use these resources to succeed and join their ranks:

NaNoWriMo Preparation

The NaNoWriMo rules don’t let you use any pre-written draft material. You have to start afresh from the beginning of November. You may prepare in advance, however. Prepare by outlining and creating character sketches that will give you the basic structure you need to write 50, 000 words in 30 days. Here are 5 of our best posts to help you prepare for NaNoWriMo:

1. Writing a novel in a month: 10 tips for plotters and pantsers

Whether you like to outline in detail or write by the seat of your pants, these tips will help you put in place guiding structure.

2. Plot outline creation: 7 smart methods

In October, choose an outlining method and create a helpful guide for yourself that will make it easier to keep your eye on the whole while finishing your novel’s first draft.

3. How to plot a novel: 7 tips for success

A considered plot outline will make your story more cohesive and will help you avoid plot clichés. Read 7 tips for writing a great plot for your NaNoWriMo novel.

4. Character development: 9 tips for convincing arcs

Starting NaNoWriMo with character sketches will give you direction for your characters’ goals and outcomes. Read 9 tips for creating believable and interesting character arcs.

5. Novel writing basics: 10 steps to an unputdownable book

Deciding what to include in your NaNoWriMo novel and what to leave out? This post offers a refresher on story essentials.

Find your central idea for your NaNoWriMo novel now using Now Novel’s Idea Finder and create detailed character sketches in preparation.

NaNoWriMo week 1: How to start NaNoWriMo right

The first week of National Novel Writing Month in November is all about building your momentum and making sure you write every day. Read our best posts on establishing the process that will keep you on track to reach 50,000 words and win:

1. How to start a novel: First sentences, first paragraphs

Writing the first paragraphs of a novel is challenging. Here are tips for writing a zinger of a story opening.

2. How to get in the mood to write daily: 9 tips

During NaNoWriMo, you’ll write more frequently than you might under usual circumstances. Build a plan to inspire you when you don’t feel in the mood to write.

3. How to write a rough draft: Finish your novel faster

Writing a rough draft quickly is a key skill for NaNoWriMo. Use these tips to motor through your 50,000 words – then take your time to expand and polish when NaNoWriMo is over.

4. How to start writing a novel if stuck: 8 steps

Launching into your NaNoWriMo novel from a clean slate can be daunting – use these tips to get going.

5. Different points of view: Definitions and 5 tips for expert use

When you’re starting your NaNoWriMo novel, you’ll need to choose a point of view for your story’s narrator. This guide to POV will help.

Lay strong foundations for your NaNoWriMo process from week one. If any questions, challenges or frustrations arise, get help from Now Novel’s NaNoWriMo writing group.

NaNoWriMo weeks 2 & 3: Persevering

At the start of NaNoWriMo you’re fired up, but by week two you’re probably thinking ‘writing a book in a month is hard work!’ Read 5 posts on how to persevere when the going gets tough:

1. Writing discipline: 7 strategies to keep writing your novel

As you head into the second and third weeks of NaNoWriMo, you might find your discipline and resolve weaken a little. These 7 strategies will help you stay on track.

2. How to write a novel: Silence the ‘You can’t write’ voice

As you progress during NaNoWriMo, it’s important not to let self-doubt take hold. Use these 5 strategies for banishing self-defeating internal monologue.

3. How to be inspired to write every day: 10 ideas

In your second or third week of NaNoWriMo, writing and reaching your daily word count could become tougher. Use these 10 tips to stay inspired to write every day without fail.

4. Banish writer’s block: 14 proven methods

If you get to a point during week two or three where you feel stuck, fear not – here are 14 strategies for working past blocks.

5. How to write a novel: Story beginnings, middles and ends

During the second and third weeks of NaNoWriMo, you should complete your novel’s middle. Here are key tips for making sure the middle of your novel provides a strong bridge to the end.

Finishing a novel requires accountability in addition to discipline and focus. Find others who will help spur you onwards. Join an online writing group or get help from a writing coach for an extra push.

NaNoWriMo Week 4: Finishing your NaNoWriMo novel

As NaNoWriMo comes to an end, you need to think about closing chapters and the editing process that awaits. Read 5 posts on writing closing chapters, self-editing, and moving beyond finishing your first draft:

1. How to end a story: Write satisfying closing chapters

In the final week of NaNoWriMo, you’ll need to end your novel satisfyingly. This guide to endings (featuring examples from George Orwell and James Joyce, among others) will help.

2. How to end a novel: Strong novel ending ideas

As you near the end of NaNoWriMo, think about what type of ending your novel should have – will events come full circle, or is there a shocking twist waiting in the wings?

3. Editing novel drafts like a pro: 8 tips

In the event you finish your NaNoWriMo draft early, you can also start December’s editing process early. Here are 8 tips to self-edit like a pro.

4. Manuscript editing: How to cut words when your novel’s too long

If you wound up with far too much material and managed to produce much more than the 50,000-word minimum and would prefer a novella-length MS, this guide to slimming your manuscript down by Janice Hardy will help.

5. How to keep motivated after the first draft

If you reach your 50,000-word target this NaNoWriMo, congratulations! These revision tips will help you stay structured and motivated as you move beyond NaNoWriMo to produce your final, polished draft.

After you’ve finished your NaNoWriMo draft, helpful feedback will help you revise and get it into shape. Get helpful critiques from the Now Novel community or an experienced writing coach for external perspective.

Other Resources

Want additional insights and guidance? Here are 5 great posts on making the most of NaNoWriMo:

1. Joe Bunting at The Write Practice shares 5 simple tips for starting off your NaNoWriMo process right.

2. Here’s a fun, motivating NaNoWriMo pep talk by Chuck Wendig over at NaNoWriMo’s website. Wendig reminds us of the freedom involved: ‘You can slop mud on the car. You can get out and dance in the grass.’

3. Wendig has another great post over at his blog Terrible Minds: NaNoWriMo Survival Guide: How I Write 50K(-ish) Every Month [friendly warning: Strong language].

4. K.M. Weiland’s post, ‘7 Ways to Use NaNoWriMo to Make You a Better Writer All Year Long’ shares useful takeaways from participating in NaNoWriMo.

5. Angela Ackerman’s post on what to do when you hit blanks during your NaNoWriMo marathon is helpful. Read ‘NaNoWriMo Triage Center: Helping You Get to 50K’.

Do you know a great NaNoWriMo article or resource that should be part of this list? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook

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