Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Falling in Love with your Story Again

I hate my novel.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/goddess-arts/ (license=CC BY-NC 2.0)

Many of you pursuing your NaNoWriMo dreams may understand, just past the half-way point, that your lovely story has turned on you and become an albatross hanging ’round your neck.

“What happened?” you may ask. Nothing, really. This is supposedly a normal phase of writing experts describe in countless books to amateurs like me. Keep writing and the love will return.

I disagree. When my pink and wrinkly ‘baby’ was first born, umbilical cord severed with the words “The End”, I marveled at how it’s intricate subplots came together to form this testament to perseverance.

Now the pretty is gone. I’ve reworked my outline, coaxed the characters to speak in turn, as well as patched so many plot holes that the whole thing reeks of Bondo.  It has reached the ‘terrible twos’ and become a monster that won’t stop crying for attention, turns everything I feed it to crap, and scampers off to get into mischief whenever my back is turned.

Where has the love gone?

When first conceived, my story was a world I imagined arising from the devastation of losing our digital way of life. Instead of the gloomy zombie filled post-apocalyptic tales saturating today’s markets, we didn’t surrender our humanity at the first sign of trouble and people banded together – not just to survive – but to reconnect society through shared moral values.

I think this is what the so-called experts meant by “theme”, but it is hard to tell when their nebulous term is applied like baby powder to every story element that chafes as you write.



Take Home Quiz:

Go over your story and describe why you fell in love with the idea of it enough to write it in the first place. Go ahead and be sloppy- I won’t grade you on spelling or grammar.

Use this description as a reference while you write/revise your work. The plot, characters, even setting may change as you go, but keep this picture in mind as your baby grows and it just might survive long enough to become ready for the world one day.



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15 minute writing drills

This last three day weekend promised to be a boon to my halted writing, but deciding on where to start proved near fatal.

I’d spent the last couple of weekends nibbling around the edges of my novel rewrite by creating index cards for each of my plotted scenes that still needed writing. On each card was the setting, POV character, some lines about the conflict and goals, and the following scene. All seemed ready for writing, but I still faced the dreaded blank page.

This lone condition is both my writing nemesis as well as my favorite part of writing. It can only be vanquished by sheer force of will, an external deadline, or a crazy exercise I picked up during the 2007 NaNoWriMo.

How does this miracle work, you ask?

Fifteen Minutes

Fifteen Minutes

Simple. Set aside 15 minutes of time when you can work without distractions, choose your topic or scene, and begin writing non-stop until the buzzer goes off. Do not waste time with editing or punctuation; you can fix errors afterwards. Just write what you feel works best, even if you never use the material in your finished story.

Based on this technique, I am proud to say that I have four text segments to start my unwritten scenes. I don’t know what or how I will continue from where each segment ends, but now the page isn’t empty.

The next time you find yourself staring down a blank page; try it. It cannot be worse that not writing at all.

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