NaNoWriMo Tips From Author Erin Yun
Nov 11, 2019 by Erin Yun
- Outlines Can Be Your Friend: I know there’s a great divide between Pantsers and Plotters, but as somebody who has the urge to write on the edge of her seat but has to remind herself to do some plotting, I have to say that an outline can be immensely helpful—especially for NaNoWriMo, when you need to get down a lot of words in such a short amount of time. Outlines help save time in the long run because you catch a lot of plot holes from the start, and you (hopefully) won’t have to delete as many scenes during the editing stage. Plus, outlines need not stifle creativity during the writing process. If you find that your characters are taking the plot down a different route, it’s entirely possible to follow a new path! But having some direction from the start can be reassuring and makes sure that you’re never entirely lost.
- Make Your Characters Real: If I fall in love with a character, then even if the plot is slow moving, I’m more inclined to stick around. But here’s the thing—a perfect character doesn’t equal a good character. Real people have flaws, and so should your characters. Make sure that they’re three-dimensional by really understanding them—their personalities, their backstories, their goals in life . . . even their favorite flavor of ice cream. I like to get closer to my characters by sketching them, taking personality quizzes for them, and creating playlists of songs I think they’d like.
- Read, Read, and Read Some More: While writing as much as you can is definitely important, reading as much as you can is equally important! Reading will help you strengthen your voice, find what works and what doesn’t work for you in a book, and gain new energy when you’re feeling a little burnt-out from staring at your manuscript for eight hours straight.
- Feeling Stuck? Skip Ahead: Sometimes, for whatever reason, I might be in the mood to write but still struggle with actually writing a particular scene. During those times, I like to skip ahead to a scene that I’ve been looking forward to writing (like a page full of fun, banter-heavy dialogue) and then come back to the current scene. Sometimes a change of pace is exactly what you need to get past the original roadblock.
- Go to Sleep: I adore the feeling of being up at three in the morning, seven thousand words in, with ideas and dialogue streaming from my fingertips. In those situations, it’s totally worth pulling an all-nighter and downing five cups of coffee the next day. However, if you’ve been staring at a blank page for the last five hours, then it’s time to go to sleep. Take a day off. Eat good food. Look out for yourself, and start again when you’re refreshed.