Tackling NaNoWriMo 2011

I’ve announced several times that I’m taking on the National Novel Writing Month challenge yet again this year, in spite of having failed at it four (or is it five?) times before. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. You can write a novel, several short stories, a detailed outline, whatever. The only requirements are: 1) you write 50k words, 2) in an original work (or works). In the past, I chose this to mean 50,000 words in a work I had already begun. Last year, I tried a new story, Layoff, which I’ve also mentioned before.

I’m starting tabula rasa again with Layoff for this year’s NaNoWriMo. Got rid of last year’s wordcount, got rid of the main character, got rid of the slugline, everything. Even changed the subtitle (“Revenge of a Stumblebum” instead of “Revenge of a Coward”), and believe me, that’s going to change yet again after I come up with a better one.

So, how am I going to fill the average daily goal of 1,667 words? By using a few methods, most of them tried and true (at least, for other writers), one that’s brand new (to me, and something I haven’t run across before, but might have been used and I haven’t read about it — well, you get the picture, I hope).

1. Write at a consistent time every day. (Not in the middle of the night, please!)

2. Write at only one location, every day. (Computer desk in southeast corner of apartment.)

3. Stop Facebooking, watching TV, maybe even reading. (Cutting out distractions should help immensely.)

4. Turn off my internal editor. This is going to be harder even that number 3 on this list.

5. Divide Layoff into 30 distinct scenes (30 days hath November), and write one scene each day, to the required average length of 1,667 words.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Layoff will require more than 30 scenes, or that two or more scenes will actually run together into a longer scene. Dividing Layoff this way will, hopefully, give me the structure I need. If it sounds artificial and arbitrary, well, it is. If you think it’ll make Layoff read like an episodic novel, you’re right. I’m hoping a later revision will smooth that over. Shit will be rewritten, reshuffled, deleted, and lengthened, as necessary.

Now, I just have to develop those 30 scenes. Thank goodness I have 19 days to do it. Stop yelling at me, I will so do it!


About Bruce Diamond

Despicably proud old man. Text-extruding asshole (thank you, John Scalzi) with a skewed vision on life, pop culture, writing and general assholiness. Not a scholar, not a gentleman, not Martin or Lewis. But still trying to make life fun and funny.
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