November is National Novel Writing Month. It is a great time to set yourself an audacious challenge and complete that novel or book you’ve stopped and started too many times to count.
There are great tools and resources at https://nanowrimo.org/ to help you reach your goal and I strongly recommend you use them no matter the time of year.
However, I wanted to share some of my own tips for completing your book project.
1. Write the Book Blurb for the back of the book.
If the book blurb doesn’t inspire me I’m not buying the book, no matter how sexy the couple is on the cover or if the person is famous. I’ve got Word documents of blurbs for stories and screenplays yet to be written. It helps me encapsulate the problem, the solution and the journey that I’m about to take the reader or viewer on. This will help you to narrow your focus and acts as a guide so you know where your story needs to go.
2. Map the story out.
I know I know. You’re a creative and want to see where the story will take you. You only write when inspired. This you can do if you’ve got nothing else going on in your life and you’ve got all the time in the world to finish the book. You don’t. Again, focus is key to completing your book. Know the journey you want to take. Trust me, there will be deviations but it will provide you with the beats that your story needs to have to keep it flowing.
3. Set a word count target.
Genres have different word counts and it is important to know that. No one wants to be taken around the world and back in your self-help book. Get straight to the point and give us the answers. Here are a few to note below:
- Memoir – 45,000 to 80,000
- Self-help book – 30,000 – 70,000
- Fantasy novel – 50,000 – 150,000
- Romance novel – 50,000 – 90,000
- Contemporary novel – 60,000 – 90,000
- Young adult book – 60,000 – 90,000
4. Start with one word.
Don’t be overwhelmed with the big number. Focus on the little one. What is your word count target for the day? One word will become two and two becomes three and before you know it, you have a sentence. You’re winning. One sentence turns into two and voila, the first paragraph is completed. Paragraphs turn into chapters and chapters turn into a finished novel. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking about the entirety of everything you need to write. Start with one word and honor that one word then give it a companion.
5. It’s just the first draft.
You’re either going to read what you wrote at the end of the month and think it is simply brilliant and no changes needed or you will think…what the #$%@ is this? Give yourself a pat on the back. You did complete the novel…well the first draft of it anyway. Take a minute to be thankful and then put it down for about a week or two at the most so you can process what you wrote. As you meditate on what you created, ask yourself questions. Was the first chapter a solid introduction to the book? Would I want to keep reading it? What assumptions am I making about my reader? Where can I be more descriptive or less long-winded? Giving yourself the time to assess with a critical eye what you wrote, will allow you to go back and make adjustments with clarity.
6. Fall out of love with your brilliant writing.
To edit it even before it is sent off to an editor, fall out of love with that beautiful prose. I often get stuck because I think the story begins just right and I love the way it makes me feel but the that is all it is. I can’t get it to help me move the story along. Be willing to slash your words if they do not allow your story to move or your characters to grow.
7. Get a coach.
I accomplish a lot more with the support of others. You can choose to join the nanowrimo.org platform which provides resources. However, for even more support this November, join me for a weekly talk with tips and brainstorming. You have two options of an individual call (2 sessions only) or the group call (5 sessions).
Individual calls are US$175 per session or get on the group call for US$275 for November.
Interested? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love telling stories. I help my clients from the private and public sector to leverage traditional and digital media to increase their visibility and make more money. I am a mentor, business strategist, a certified Business Continuity Specialist and the author of seven books, including the In Plain Sight and the Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more great tips and ideas to help you grow.