21 days and counting until NaNoWriMo kicks off on November 1st. At this point everyone is enthusiastic, and I’ve had fun discussing some of the issues facing individual writers who are preparing to participate this month. Even if you can’t write 50,000 words, the program is a good way to share the joys and frustrations of etching out a new story.
In my last blog my enginerd brain sorted this process down to words per day – roughly 1,600 or so, even if you hit every day. Well, don’t forget that Thanksgiving sits right there at the end of November, and it’ll probably gobble up a day or two of your writing. And if I know one thing about writing, it’s that starting is always the easy part. So in order to avoid the inevitable pre-holiday time crunch compounding with the I-must-finish-this-ginormous-writing-assignment dread, I’ve got just the potion to cure the depressed-writer blues.
Are you ready?
Here it is:
Know THE END!
Yep, that’s it.
I already talked about setting your scene, knowing your world. Now it’s time to truly decide what story you’re going to tell. I don’t mean Space Princess Angst-Ridden Beauty meets Cyber-Cowboy Stud. (Actually, I’m pretty sure you already had that part.) What I’m talking about is the actual end. See it, taste it, smell it. If you have to, write out that scene and put those two words magic words on the page. Then you can say, “I see THE END. That’s where I’m going.”
In my time as reader, editor, and writer, I’ve seen countless stories that leapt from the starting line in a frantic dash, only to run aimlessly in one direction, then meander back in another, only to run out of gas before they reached any kind of climax, much less a satisfying ending…all because the author lacked a clear picture of the ultimate destination. (Are you out of breath after reading that? I’m not; I’ve been building up my writing stamina.)
Stories are journeys of the imagination, and no self-respecting woman runs out of the house without directions. Right? So sit down and do a little internal NaNoWriMo mapping of sorts. While volume is the goal, next month isn’t about sprinting – it’s about sustaining. There’s no time to be wasted.
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.
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