Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

I cheated on NaNoWriMo

Last night I went to the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto Awards, drank too much and didn’t get up this morning to write for NaNoWriMo.

I have another confession: I cheated on NaNoWriMo. I’ve been working on a short story and yesterday I tacked it to the end of my NaNoWriMo novel to get the word count up.

I’m ready to give up. I can’t write like this. I need time to process the story.

What would Haruki Murakami say? He’d say: Get up at 4:00 am, Tania! Write and then go for a 10 km run in the afternoon.  You need power to be a good writer.

Haruki would never have cheated on NaNoWriMo.

Nanowrimo is awful!

Nanowrimo is awful! There’s no time to edit or finesse writing as you go. And the writing is bad. Really bad: the bones of a draft, the choreography, all telling—he did this, she did that, they went here, and then this happened. And to make it worse, I’ve decided to write in past tense which feels unnatural. I keep catching myself defaulting to present tense. The idea to swap from present to past tense came from one of my last writing classes. We had to do an elevator pitch to an editor from a publishing house. She said my pitch was ‘interesting’ and ‘good luck with that’. And that was one of her kinder responses! After the pitching session the editor imparted some of her wisdom to us students. She said present tense was passé.

As I was working on this awful past tense draft this morning, I came up with an idea. What if Nanowrimo first draft is the skeleton and each subsequent draft is the flesh, but instead of fleshing it all out at once, devote each layer—each ‘fleshing’—to a different sense? So …

Draft 1: skeleton

Draft 2: fleshing out concentrating on sight

Draft 3: fleshing out concentrating on sound

Draft 4: fleshing out concentrating on smell

Draft 5: fleshing out concentrating on touch

Draft 6: fleshing out concentrating on taste

Then there’s always the sixth sense.

Might work. Maybe. It’s only day three of Nanowrimo. God knows what ideas I’ll have by day 30!


NaNoWriMo (National novel writers month) starts tomorrow. It’s an annual internet-based writing challenge in which participants are supposed to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and 30. I’m signed up and ready to go; armed with a rough story outline, lots of coffee and the crazy hope that I’m going to come out at the end with a shitty first draft of my second novel. 1667 words per day is going to be a challenge, considering that I’ve been known to work on one sentence for a week.

25 things you should know about NaNoWriMo by Chuck Wendig

5 tips for winning NaNoWriMo by Anna Spargo-Ryan