IT’S OVER!! I completed the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo with a total of 52,322 words!! I have never written so much in such a short amount of time before. It was an exhausting process, but one that I just might repeat in July to start the second installment of the Fire Crystal Chronicles. Now, while I did complete the 50,000 words in a month challenge, the book itself is not complete. I’m about nine chapters away from the end, I think, so my new goal is to FINISH the book by the end of this month (May). This goal-setting thing is awesome, but I really think it is the fact that I’m holding myself accountable through this blog and Facebook and what-not that really pushed me in the last few days of the challenge to really dig in and get it done. I through on my playlist of choice, locked myself in my room, and went to town. It was exhausting, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who actually cares about their health and sanity.
Had I come at this book the same way I did with the Trilogy, I don’t think would have gotten my 50,000 words. There were a few things that I did before starting this challenge that I think really helped me complete it, and I think are universally usable tips for anyone trying to write a novel and/or series. For any other aspiring authors out there in need of a few organizational goals, below are my top three tips for keeping you story from becoming a jumbled mess in your own head.
This may sound like an obvious one, but it’s definitely worth mentioning anyway. When I first started The Guardians, I had the destination in mind, and some of the major points in the story, but I had no details worked out ahead of time, or previous development of the plot. This is probably one of the reasons it took me 10 YEARS to write all three books. With The Fire Crystal Chronicles, however, I started plotting the crap out of them. I have the main storyline for all nine books (that’s right…NINE) worked out, and have started going through the main points in overarching subplots of the books. The first book was completely plotted, in a fair amount of detail, before I started writing, and I’m almost done doing the same for the second book. It has mad the process SO MUCH EASIER. And faster. That’s not to say that everything is set in stone, because writing is a process that can take on a life of its own. I’ve had to make adjustments to fit in new ideas, and add chapters because I underestimated how long one section would be. Because I plotted ahead of time, however, I’ve found it way easier to move the puzzle pieces around and fix things then when I was trying to keep all of the elements I was coming up with on the spot arranged in my head.
2. WRITE THINGS DOWN.
I have a notebook. This notebook is my life, because it has every idea I have ever had about The Fire Crystal Chronicles written inside it. I have another notebook for The Guardians, which isn’t as detailed or filled with random thoughts, but it was still my lifeline when I was writing the books. Write your ideas down, in any way that you can. Use a paper and pencil, a word processor, text, Tweet, or email yourself, but WRITE THEM DOWN. If you have a brilliant idea as your going to bed, and don’t bother to write it down because you are so confident you’ll remember it in the morning, YOU WON’T! That idea will leave you and never come back. It also will help you from having to search your manuscript over and over for some tiny detail, like a random character’s eye color, if you have it noted somewhere that is more easily accessible. Again, for the sake of emphasis, WRITE YOUR IDEAS DOWN.
3. TELL OTHER PEOPLE YOUR GOALS.
It’s one thing to set a goal for yourself, that you’re going to commit to writing so many words in a certain amount of time, but if you’re the only one holding yourself accountable, it’s probably not going to work. It’s way to easy to let yourself slide on your goals, but if you tell other people, it’s a lot harder to back down from a deadline. That’s why I didn’t keep it a secret when I started the April challenge. I blogged about it, I put it on Facebook and Twitter, I told my friends and family…I surrounded myself with accountability. People were cheering me on and were excited for me. It wasn’t just a challenge that I wanted to complete to prove to myself I could do it, but to prove to everyone else I could as well.
So, there you are…three tips to help you be more successful in your writing. These aren’t hard and fast rules, mind you, and you can take them or leave them as you see fit. They’ve worked for me, however, and I think they could work for other people as well. It’s been a long month, with tons of words on pages, but I’m really glad that I pushed myself to finish, even when I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. Now I just have to keep the momentum going and finish! (But first I need to finish my finals :P)
Until next time,
E. K. Broich
P.S. To end things on a fun note, the amount of awesome I’m feeling right now can only be matched by Emma Stone lip sync battling Jimmy Fallon.