October 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

First of all, this is my 300th post, so wow!  But now for the rest...

NaNoWriMo 2013 is rapidly approaching, and I'm really excited!  I know I'm going to have less time this year than in the past, so I'm setting a realistic word count goal in light of that.  If all goes well, I can always increase it.

"What is NaNoWriMo?" 
Go here to find out more.  Or, here.  I always do the Young Writers' Program because I can choose my word count goal instead of trying to get 50k when I know I won't be able to.
Basically, NaNo 30 days where you try to write 50,000 words (or more or less) and feel totally awesome on November 30th when you reach your goal.

What is your project going to be?
This year, I was originally going to use NaNo to work on/finish my novel about homeschooling and a reality show, based on the co-op I attend and my friends.  But I'm kind of stuck with that book right now, so I changed my plans to work on my retelling of Hamlet.

Tell us more!
So, it's working title is To Die, To Sleep from Hamlet's famous soliloquy, and this is my current synopsis:
History tends to repeat itself, but what about literature? The Elsinore Players are putting on Hamlet in hopes that it'll return them to their once-prestigious standing. But then the troupe's wise leader dies unexpectedly, and his son suspects foul play, especially when his father's ghost starts haunting the Danish Crown Theatre and tells his son to "revenge his foul and most unnatural murder." Will the players live to put on their play and catch the conscience of a king?
Does that sound interesting or what? I'm really excited about it.  Right now, the plan is to tell it in third-person from the POVs of my Ophelia, Horatio, and Hamlet.  I've changed all names so it's modernized, but I think each character is going to be highly recognizable.  I'm also using actual dialogue from Hamlet but definitely modernizing it.  So I'm using my Shakespeare Made Easy copy with the original text side-by-side with a modern translation to help write it.

What will you be researching?
  • Flowers and their meanings so I can dig deep into the scene where Ophelia goes mad. (Fun!)
  • Poisons and other methods of murder. (I'm documenting this here just in case the government checks out my Internet search history.)
  • Theater terminology and such. (This is set in a theater, after all.)

So what's your word count goal?
It's currently 40k.  We'll see if it goes up or down as the month progresses.

Can you give us some insider info about To Die, To Sleep?
My Ophelia is named Violet, which ties into the whole flower thing again.
Oh, and the novel actually starts before the first scene of the original play.  It gives me a chance to introduce the characters and set up the fact that, not only are they living out Hamlet, but they're going to perform it.

Can we be writing buddies?
If you're doing YWP, sure!  Here's the link to my profile: Emma's NaNo profile.

Any advice?
This is my third year doing NaNo, and each year, it's been different.
Year 1: My novel stunk, but I proved I could write 40k in one month.
Year 2: I had a more serious novel that I am currently revising, and I wrote 50k words!
Year 3: I've already changed what novel I'll be writing.
Clearly, I know nothing.  And that's okay.  I'm still learning how to do NaNoWriMo myself.  With that said, here's my advice. (Beware, there's a lot!)

1. Don't focus on the fact that you may want to get this published someday.  Just focus on writing.  Because believe me, your first draft is going to be scary awful.  You're going to lose sleep over it in revisions.  But you're writing something, and you're doing it in 30 days.  And that should give you feelings of...

(Seriously, pretend you're Taylor looking out at that crowd of fans and just take it in.)

2. You don't have to start a completely new novel for NaNo, no matter what they say.  Every year, I've started my novel before November.  But the pressure gives me the motivation to keep writing and maybe even finish it sooner than I would've otherwise.
3. Get as much written before November (if you're like me) or in the first week.  Believe me, when you reach the middle of the month and start to slow down or have writer's block, being ahead of schedule will feel amazing.
4. You have to write every day, even if it's just 100 words.  It's better than nothing.
5. Try as hard as you can to turn off your inner editor.  If you're like me, that's near impossible.  I'm a perfectionist and overachiever, so I always edit as I go.  You have to accept that this draft is not going to be even close to perfect (something I'm still learning to do in general).
6. Just like how movies are not shot in chronological order, a book does not have to be written in order.  If there's a scene later in your novel that you have all figured out, go ahead and write it!  You can go back later and fill in what you skipped.  Also, writing this way may help you figure out what to put between points A and C.
7. Even if you're not an outliner, at least have some idea of what you're doing and need to research.  This will save time that you can then devote to writing.
8. Learn to turn off your WiFi.  During November, it becomes even more distracting than usual.
9. Collect the tools that help you write: playlists, your writing station set up and ready to go, snacks (sour gummy worms, popcorn, bagels, and mini KitKats for me), and drinks (I drink water as usual, but also Coke).
10. Get to know your characters as much as you can before November 1st.  Take character quizzes, figure out their "legends," etc.  With that said, though, don't worry if they start to go in a different direction mid-novel.  It could lead to interesting character back story or development, or you can just fix it later.
11. Getting over writer's block quickly: see tip 6, because that often helps.  Other that that, get up and do some jumping jacks.  Journal about random stuff.  Take a 10-minute break and read a book.  Head to the NaNo forums and see if you can find some inspiration there.  Take a notebook and go to Starbucks or some place like that and people-watch.  Writer's block is conquerable.  You can stomp all over it.

(I was kind of looking for an excuse to use that gif...)

12. And just have fun.  Don't stress over meeting your word goal.  That will always make it worse!  As long as you have fun, NaNoWriMo can be so wonderful.

I'll be doing regular NaNo updates throughout November (and book reviews will probably be next-to-none...), so stay tuned! I'll update on daily word count, the song of the day, and other random things like that, just like I did last year.


  1. Lovely GIFs!

    This is my first NaNo- thanks for the tips.) :)

    1. You're welcome! Good luck with your writing!

    2. First time for me too! I'm glad I found such talented fellow bloggers!:)

  2. I love that Princess Diaries gif!

  3. Hey Emma! I finally got around to checking out your blog!! You're a great author/reviewer! I'll be sure to check back. -Jackie W.

  4. Yay NaNoWriMo! Great tips, Emma. And LOL on the research.


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