In order to be a winner in NaNoWriMo, you must write 50,000 words in a 30-day period. If you’ve ever been a participant, you understand how challenging this can be. This past year, because of circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to see NaNoWriMo through to the end. I did, however, have a reasonably successful first couple of weeks. On the days I was focused, I averaged around 2,000 words. But a more realistic target for me is 1,200-1,500 words per day.
With 28 days in February, using the 1,500 number, understanding that there will be days when I get nothing accomplished, I’m setting my goal at 38,000 words.
1,500 x 25=37,500 (rounded up=38,000)
Chronicles’s Write-A-Thon is designed for you, the writer, to challenge yourself in a manner that fits your lifestyle. You determine your own goals. You decide how much support you want from fellow write-a-thoners. In a nutshell, the write-a-thon is an independent work-study program with all the support you might receive in a classroom-type atmosphere.
A Word About Increasing Your Counts
Write your heart out with these five things in mind:
1) Characters— Don’t stop at eye color. Describe your characters’ clothing, their mannerisms, and their other physical features.
2) Setting—Close your eyes and retreat to a quiet place in your mind. Feel the warmth of the sunshine on your shoulders or the sting of sleet against your face. Hear the birds singing or the waves lapping the shore.
3) Dialogue—Let your characters speak to one another at will.
4) Bring on the backstory—Use this time to write about your characters’ first day of kindergarten, or their first kiss, or what they ate for breakfast that morning. You may not use this information in your novel, but it will help you to understand your characters better.
5) Let the exposition flow—Now is the time to talk it all out.
Does this sound a little like cheating?
Yes. But don’t think about it that way. Your first draft is a process. You are becoming acquainted with your characters and settling into their environment and growing comfortable with your plot. In your first round of edits, you will combine sentences and delete whole paragraphs—maybe even chapters—but won’t it be wonderful to have so much great material to work with?
* As I said in an earlier post, this is a simple write-a-thon. There aren’t any fancy web badges or word count widgets. You are responsible for keeping up with your own word counts—the daily ones for some of the raffles and the total for the big Kindle Paperwhite giveaway at the end of the month. My goal is to provide inspiration and encourage discussion that will develop community.
What are your word count goals?
What methods do you use to flush out your characters?
How do you go about increasing your word counts?
Sunday, February 3—Pick the winner of the Super Bowl and your name will be entered in a drawing to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card. Check back in tomorrow and enter your name.
Monday, February 4—The person with the most words to date wins: A paperback copy of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.