In case you haven't heard, this month is National Novel Writing Month, also called NaNoWriMo. If you have questions or need help of any sort, visit the link above to the nanowrimo website.
For a number years, I've been under the opinion that the volume of writers has been on the increase, although it appears the number of readers has been on the decrease. Thanks to computers, it is easy to become a writers. Of course, there is more than the declaration. Writing is a very important aspect of being a writer. I suppose that's why nanowrimo is a wonderful way of jumping in head first. Writing a novel is daunting. Writing one in a month is... well even more daunting.
This is also the time of year that the emails arrive, asking me if I'm joining in the fun. I confess, I never have. Oddly, I've always been to busy with writing projects to attempt a novel in a month. Such irony. But that doesn't mean I don't share in the spirit, and even try to write a bit more to share the "pain"? And, as I am writing, editing, and revising presently, I'm in the game, so to speak.
Yes, I did say "game,' because it is a bit of a game. Countless writers spend this month moderately competing against each other for high word counts, each attempting to reach a goal of a novel length manuscript. It is possible. I know a few people who have done it several times. And I know many, many people who have almost accomplished it and ended up well on their way to finishing a novel. So why not give it a shot? Grab a web word counter, and even if you don't write a novel, see how many words you can write this month. Oh, and don't forget to read! Those who write, do read. And those who read, often write. It's a great way to learn, and it is one of the oldest methods of building writing skills: reading and writing.
Even though it probably isn't needed, I'm going to offer my favorite starting point. Of course, it varies for every person. There is no uniform system of "how to write" (even if there are published books explaining the process). In the end, only the writer and determine the best method and approach. As for me, I like to start with three things:
- Narrator: The person actually writing the story - that's not the writer, it is an invented voice/person.
- Character(s): Grab a handful and place them in a conflicting situation. Conflict leads to story. It can even be characters in conflict with each other.
- Plot: The general purpose or movement of the story. Chase? Mystery? Exploration? Adventure? Murder?