Perfectly hushed and chill music for writing, mediation, solitude . . . in the quiet hours. Also nite-nite music.
November is just around the corner, and as we gear up, we’re sharing advice on how you can best prepare for a month of writing. Today, author and designer Derek Murphy shares his advice on how to turn a messy work-in-progress into a polished draft in November:
NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity to push your boundaries and see how much writing you can get done in thirty days. If it’s your first time shooting for 50K, write whatever is easiest for you. However, if you’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for a few years and have struggled to turn your newly generated manuscript into an actual book that sells, here’s some advice that should help:
Save a Darling—Plot Ahead
First of all, if you started your story with very little plotting, it’s likely you have dozens of powerful scenes but no backbone to hold it all together. And it’s very difficult to go back and operate on your manuscript after it’s finished. “Kill your darlings” is good advice, but painful for a reason. It’s hard to cut the stuff you love—but if it confuses the narrative or doesn’t need to be there, it’s hurting the story.
Rather than spend a month generating content and then months of frustration trying to polish it into something that actually sees the light of day, it’s much easier to plot before your start—at least loosely. For most commercial fiction, I use a simplified hero’s journey with 12 major plot points.
As long as I hit most of those points in roughly the right places, I know my story will stand strong even if the writing falters. You don’t have to chronicle the exact details of every scene, and you shouldn’t worry about writing beautiful prose, but having a rough idea of your pivotal scenes will make it much easier for you to finish a powerful story in record time.
If you get stuck halfway through your NaNoWriMo novel, it’s usually because you’re sinking into the muddy middle—where you didn’t plot enough events to carry the story forward—so you invent a bunch of random and increasingly incredible plot developments to span the gap, then rush towards the epic conclusion. The problem with this is your story will feel rushed and implausible. [more]
Click the link to continue reading “NaNo Prep: How to Go From Plotless to Polished” from the Nanowrimo blog http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/166851438740/nano-prep-how-to-go-from-plotless-to-polished
Unofficial lyric video by John Flynn of my current favorite new song “Blue Walsh” by Mastodon, from their new EP Cold Dark Place (released September 22, 2017).
At last the house is quiet and still. Well, mostly. There’s a cricket outside the living room window chirping incessantly and the Lady of the Manor is in the recliner reading a book and yawning occasionally. Earlier today there was a small family gathering here to celebrate my birthday belatedly (the momentous occasion of my having made another successful trip ‘round the sun again occurred this past Tuesday). The wife served up a nice baked pasta with chicken meal (kinda like a casserole, I suppose) along with Caesar salad, garlic bread and for dessert a choice of chocolate cake with fudge icing, carrot cake and vanilla ice cream. All of it chased down by either sweet tea or ice water. Quality family time followed the eating festivities. All and all a simple, low-key way to celebrate one’s arrival upon this planet.
Now, I debate how to best take advantage of these quiet ours. I am often torn between the desire to read and the urge to write or play guitar (I did some strumming on one of my acoustic guitars earlier and have the beginnings of a new song). As a working family man this is the common way my evenings end – arriving at the Quiet Hours tired from the long day yet eager to be productive in either reading, writing, rocking or all three. It’s too quiet to play guitar at this hour. Reading more than an hour this late will surely put me to sleep (and thankfully I got a fair amount of reading today pre-festivities). But writing at this hour? Aside from the general end-of-the-day depletion of full cognition, it’s the most opportune time to do so and I could probably eek out a few hundred words before full mental wariness takes hold – starting with this missive.
So that’s what I’ll do, I’ll work on the crime romance novel I’ve been plotting and outlining the last couple of weeks. After all, the wife now fallen asleep as I close this and I know had I cracked open a book I would soon succumb to the same fate here in the Quiet Hours.
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We’re already over halfway through September, which means November is fast approaching. For many writers, November means Nanowrimo, the annual challenge to write a novel in just one month. This blog post gives you some tips to help you make the most of the month, and improve your chances of success. Is Nanowrimo for you? […]