Nail Your NaNoWriMo #5: Don’t Forget to Fall In Love

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by Larry Brooks on October 4, 2011

31 Posts in 31 Days to Prep You For NaNoWriMo

About that “idea” for your novel.

There are ideas… and then there are Ideas.  The latter being significant concepts, fantasies, landscapes, arenas, themes and even semi-developed stories you are saving for a real effort at writing a novel.

Well, it doesn’t get any more real than this.  Than NaNoWriMo… if you go about it properly. 

NaNoWriMo doesn’t have to be practice, but rather, it does end up being one of two things: success or basically a waste of time.  A certain percentage of NaNoWriMo writers get this, and a certain other percentage doesn’t.  That latter group truly has one and only one goal: fill up blank screens with 50,000 words of… anything that seems, to them, to be linear in nature.  To them, that’s winning.

Winning!”  Remind you of anyone?

For real writers, NaNoWriMo isn’t about that. 

I think we owe the craft of storytelling more than that.  I know it demands more of us than that.

So let’s shoot for real success, ya think?

You know that old saying, “you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t?”  Make sure your NaNoWriMo idea doesn’t smell like the henhouse.

One way to move toward that context — and this is today’s tip — is to build this project around an idea — a concept, a character, a theme, or something that happened to you or you wish would happen to you — that’s worth a few pints of your blood and sweat.

There are no definitive criteria for this.  You’ll know if the idea is big enough, exciting enough, to be the one thing that drives you toward doing this right.  An idea you can’t get out of your head.  An idea that you’d read if someone else wrote about it.

Make your NaNoWriMo novel about that.  Nothing less.  Don’t settle.  Honor the craft, honor your time, honor your dream. Don’t concoct a placeholder story for a placeholder writing month.  Make them both count by writing something real and significant… for you.

Because — and you already know this — this is gonna be hard.  It’s like a relationship… they’re hard at times, and when it is, only if the other person is worth it will you proceed forward productively, and with a chance at bliss.

Love your story.  Accept nothing less.  That’s the only way it will ever love you back.


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