So here we are in the last week of the National Novel Writing Month. Are you still writing, still rising to the challenge? Still dutifully updating your word count?
Week Two: I wrote about staying plugged in. And I introduced my muse, Macy.
Week Three? Isn’t my Monday to blog 🙂 Instead, I added even more words to my project.
There were 305,903 people who signed up and promised themselves they would finish this year. Are you one of them?
Depending on where you are in your word count, assuming you’re one of those who put on your battle gear and screamed your war-cry on November 1st – you are either breathing a collective sigh of relief OR crying into your coffee (or wine, whichever you prefer.)
Week 4: Take a breath, stretch those writing muscles, and charge through. You can do it. You’ve made it this far – don’t give up now!
Forget about the mess in your kitchen and the laundry piling up. Close the doors to your bedroom and office and be oblivious to the fact that your desk may be covered in sticky notes, notepaper, and dishes. You may have a full ashtray and empty coffee cups – but put that out of your mind.
This is the home stretch remember?
Give your muse anything she wants – even when you don’t want to. Let her off the leash, and give her control.
My muse, Macy, has taken turns in the story that I never saw coming. I have been doing a new, weird thing during my sessions this month. I look out the window while I’m typing, I’m watching the leaves turn red on the neighbor’s tree while my fingers are a blur on the keyboard, and the story is flowing from a place I’m not really privy to until I take the time to re-read it. I’m ignoring the typos and missed punctuation. I’m letting the story free-flow without my input.
I’m not going to lie, there is that insecure little girl inside me who is asking why anyone would listen to what I have to say anyway. I have been shoving lollipops into my inner-six-year-old-self all month to shut her up. So far, it’s worked. I’ve only had one major mini-meltdown, (Oh look, an oxymoron!) and I have friends to thank for listening to me when I needed them to.
My biggest obstacle can be me! But I’m not telling anyone anything new when I say that. I’m learning, I’m not alone, and most of us go through this.
If you hear anything in this blog – hear this: It’s the home stretch!
My best advice in a nutshell? Ignore the house, stay plugged in to the community, and read the encouraging pep talks – they work! Keep your inner-editor locked in her cage for another week. There will be plenty for her to do when you’re finished. Let her scream all she wants.
Eat candy 🙂
Here’s the biggest tool you can have in your arsenal.
Think about the last time you met an interesting person. What do you want to know about them? Why do you think they ARE fascinating? What is it about them that makes them popular (or not?) Do they have siblings? Who was their first love, and why?
Have fun with it!
Ask your characters silly question as if you’re all tipsy in a bar. Dance with them. Have an argument with them. Flirt and/or get in a fight with them. Tell a joke, have them tell you one. Ask them about their childhood, or things they’ve accomplished in their life before you met them. What have they failed at? Get stranded with them in a snowstorm, or relax in the sun on the beach. Are you both attracted to the same kind of women? Why?
Get involved in their lives – because you want to know them. What do you have in common, or not?
Do they like sports? Who’s their favorite football team? Were they picked on as a child? Did they have bullies. WERE they bullies?
The questions are endless.
For me, the questions are very important on this….
I open a new document, I ask a few questions, type it out, and let them start talking.
Does it always have a place in the final manuscript? Maybe, maybe not.
But I will have learned more about them and having fun while I do it!
There you go. My humble advice for the last week of the NaNo.