Three Interesting Nanowrimo Quirks

So, April Camp Nanowrimo is finishing up.  This is the Nanowrimo light they do in the non-November months.  I think they do two a year, but you can check their page for the exact details.  I find as I get close to my writing goal (50,000 words), there are a few things I find I’m doing to preserve word count:

1) Including Stubs as part of my word count

This basically means I have scenes plotted out, maybe 1-3 sentence narratives describing what is going to happen.  These serve as placeholders or “stubs” for where the actual scene will get written.  I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with it.  But at the beginning of Nanowrimo, it gave me this great boost in my writing.  Now though, it aches.  I end up losing as many as a few hundred words depending on how big the stub is when I delete it.  That makes it slightly demoralizing to work on anything I’ve plotted.

The Benefit:  I don’t write on a scene unless I’m prepared to go hardcore and get at least 300+ words into it  I hate to write for half an hour and see the word count move a tiny amount.    This forces me to give more focus, more attention to my writing.

2) Saving my rewrites.  

Forward momentum is everything in Nanowrimo.  This means you are supposed to save your editing for next month!  That’s great in theory.  I wish I could subscribe to it.  I’m not going to call myself a perfectionist; I’m not even close.  I’ve seen some of my camp mates who are fanatical about going linearly, character driven, and need each sentence to be perfect before moving to the next.  I’m not there, but I do feel if a later scene is now contradicting something early on, I should make an effort to go back and fix it.  If it’s a few edits, no problem.  If it’s an entire scene rewrite, I create a new text/scene (I use Scrivener for my writing.  Great tool, check it out!) and move the old one to an “unused scenes” folder that stays a part of my word count.  The overall word count of my novel hasn’t changed, but I did do 1000 words of writing and want to make sure I get credit.

The Benefit: Sometimes in the rewrite, I end up losing some of the themes I wanted to capture in the scene.  This lets me maintain easy access to the scene, and in some cases, rewrite some of it to fit in elsewhere in the story.

3) I add completely new content

There are days when I am facing writer’s block, and I feel obligated to hit my word count for the day.  On these days, I make up a new character and POV, and then start writing a bunch of stuff from their perspective.  At worst, I file it away for reference material that helps round out my world, but it could range anywhere from a new character that I introduce (with me having more of a backdrop, even if the readers never see it), or to the best scenario, I really like the dynamic, and I start splicing the work up and mixing it in to keep the chapters fresh.

For those of you who participate, what are some of the quirks you find yourself doing in Nanowrimo?


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