Today is Monday, 28 October 2013, and the challenge begins on Friday, 1 November 2013.
Yes! This Friday!!!
Are you ready to come play? Here are a few lessons learned from previous years – I hope these help you towards your goal.
Before the challenge:
1. A well-developed story plan is essential. Not that you’re going to follow it precisely, but it certainly helps to know where you’re going.
2. Know your characters and take the time to write a short biographical sketch. I have to keep referring back to certain things because I simply can’t remember everything. I often forget the last name of one of my characters or their eye color.
3. A chapter timeline is essential for me. I keep mine open and update it constantly. Since my story timeline is very tight, I have to pay close attention to what is happening and when. This prevents me from having those annoying issues with “sequencing.” I once read a book in which the hero sat down to an evening meal where there were fireflies, while something bad was happening to a kid in school at recess. That’s the type of thing that makes me insane as a reader.
During the challenge:
4. Don’t make the daily word count your nemesis. I figured out early that working on a weekly word count was less stressful for me. Some people like the idea of the small bite, but 1667 words a day can be their own little nightmare. I have days where I can’t manage 800 words. But I don’t panic because my weekly goal of 12,500 words feels much more attainable.
5. Set the bar high. It’s been my experience that people live up to the expectations placed upon them. I make sure to proclaim my goals here on my website and also to all my friends. The continuous encouragement makes a huge difference.
6. Don’t waste a lot of your primary writing time self-editing. Make a note about what you need to fix and move on. I have a sheet of paper where I just jot down the stuff as I think of it. I do my primary writing in the morning, and then in the evening I generally go back and read things over. This is frequently when I will take care of the notes I made during the day.
7. Write the scene that’s in your head. It doesn’t matter if it’s out of sequence – if you know what happens to your character at a certain point get it down on paper before you lose it. This challenge is about words, not necessarily continuity.
8. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you aren’t going to make it. Keep working and power through the hurdles. 2011 was not my first attempt. I’d tried several times before and did not even get close. In fact, I’d quit without even reaching 15,000 words the last two times that I tried.
9. Don’t throw away or delete anything. Save the document under another name so you can use it later to put together a new plan and set new goals.
10. Remember above all else – this is just a challenge! You have to live in the real world and accomplish real things. Those are what really matter!
Are you ready?