1. Be lucky enough to find a regular time of day to write. Habits help.
2. Don't spend too much time on Twitter watching everyone else update their word counts and thinking about how you'll never get there. Or getting distracted by other things on Twitter. Or Facebook or YouTube, and maybe after you check all your emails, you'll get to writing...
3. Stop writing blog posts and get back to your NaNo project.
4. Shoo that cat off your lap so you can put your computer there. Except he's so cute and happy and he's purring. Okay, so maybe he can stay. Can you balance your computer one one hand and type with the other?
5. It's not moving the plot along, but it's a cute scene so write anyway. You can't kill your darlings later if you have no darlings.
That's my method. What's yours?
With a title like that, I knew both cats needed to be in the picture. He was the pinkest of cats, he was the brownest of cats!
I purchased “It was the Best of Sentences, it was the Worst of Sentences” by June Casagrande a few months ago, but times are crazy and I’ve only just finished it. It’s a small paperback, 207 pages if you include the appendices, and focuses on sentence level editing. It’s $14 in the US, and often sites the Chicago Manual of Style vs the AP Style Book, so if those style books are out of your price range, this could be a handy shortcut.
Despite being all about grammar and sentence construction, it’s not a dry read. Casagrande never criticizes you for having made mistakes in the past, not does she set ironclad rules. Everything is laid out clearly, in simple language, and with explanations that made me say, “Oh, that’s why we do that?” The most mind-blowing chapter for me covered subordination. I’d never heard the term and it made so much sense! This book made me feel more power over how to construct a sentence. I highlighted a ton of it and am keeping this for years to come.
If someone had told me to read this I might have laughed. I know how to write a sentence! Look at how many I’ve already written! But this was a look behind the grammar curtain about the why. How to make a sentence do exactly what you intend. I leveled up because of this book.
Is It Worth It?
It’s a short book, paperback, and reasonable price. It’s a great shortcut to the big style books, and is full of great information. Even if you think your skills are beyond a book about sentences, give it a chance. And have a highlighter ready. This book is absolutely worth it!
Please consider buying from your local bookstore for this or any other book purchase this year. Indie bookstores are struggling, and need your support! Not sure which bookstore is near you? Try websites like Bookshop and IndieBound.
Have you read this book? Did you love it too? Let’s discuss in the comments!
It's that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month!
This year I registered on the website for the first time! I'm hoping to write 50k of a thriller. Possibly romantic thriller, we'll see.
I'm still waiting to hear if I got into PitchWars (please please please!) but I figured that if I got very excited and into my NaNo project, that would tempt the universe to let me into PitchWars. Like when you're waiting for food at a restaurant and you decide to go to the bathroom, and that's when your food comes. Kind of. If I get into PitchWars, I'll happily drop this like a hot potato! (And store it in the fridge for later, I'm not a monster.) Bonus, if I don't get into PitchWars, maybe this project will distract me from the sting of rejection.
As of now, my word count is 1803. Come be my friend on the NaNo site, I'm there as KateOta. (Wow so creative.)
November is also National Eye Donation Month. Register as an organ, tissue, and eye donor if you haven't already!
Also vote! (I did already!) [Update: Thanks for voting!]
Man, November is jam packed.
Will I manage 50k by 11:59pm on November 30th? I'll post weekly updates here, more updates on my twitter, and daily updates on NaNo's website.
Week 1 Update:
I haven't written yet today, but as of 11/7, my word count is 12,466! Staying on track! I didn't get into PitchWars, but that's okay. I'm going to let that manuscript sit for a bit while I finish NaNoWriMo and potentially get feedback from the mentors who requested my full.
Week 2 Update:
As of today, my word count is 28,402! I might make it!
Week 3 Update:
As of today, my word count is 40,832! Home stretch! Honestly, I don't know how people do this in ordinary years, with Thanksgiving travel and obligations and regular commuting work hours. Wizardry, probably.
Final word count: 50,096! It got tough in the home stretch because I "finished" what I'd outlined around 46k. I had to squeeze in a few more scenes (mostly in the Bad Guys Close In and Fun & Games sections, if you're familiar with the Save the Cat outline.) I honestly would not have finished at all without that detailed outline, so thankful I did that! I'm going to let it sit for a long time before I do any editing (and expanding to an appropriate length). And boy will it need a lot of work. While this is the fastest I've ever drafted, it's also my roughest first draft by far. Still, it was a worthy endeavor, and seeing the word count climb so fast was great. Not sure I'll be able to do it in a non-pandemic world (with Thanksgiving travel, possible commuting, social events, etc.) but hey, if one of the few good things about 2020 is that it made my first ever full NaNo worth it, I'll take it.
Did you participate? Did you hit your goal? Let's discuss in the comments!