How to Win NaNoWriMo

I’ve finished a day early – 50,000 words in 29 days.


Here’s how to do it:

  • Write every day – this isn’t an option during November. Even if you don’t make the 1667 words a day goal, you need to get something down daily.
  • 1667 words per day is more of a guideline, not a rule – aim for over 2000 words a day on days when you have more time. That way, when you’re busy, you can slack off a bit and only write a few hundred words.
  • Don’t wait for the muse – this is a first draft, after all. Write crap. Write anything. If you’re stuck, have your characters make out your grocery list for you, or give one of them a newspaper article to compose. Just write.
  • Turn off your editor – during November you cannot edit your work until you’ve hit your daily goal. This is also not an option. If you start erasing and changing things, you’re never going to get to 50,000.

Did you try NaNoWriMo this year? Did you win?

NaNoWriMo – Pantser or Plotter?

Current word count: 30,433 …

and I’ve just come up with a major subplot for the lads


Thought I’d discuss the two basic types of writers this post. Well, actually there are three, because I believe you can be a combination.


A plotter is a careful planner, a writer who outlines the entire novel ahead of time. A plotter sometimes writes such a thorough and detailed outline that it’s practically a novel in itself. Some plotters outline down to the scene level, while others simply write rough ideas for each chapter.

If you’re a plotter, you know what’s going to happen next. This helps prevent writer’s block and gives you a target. However, if you get stuck or decide to change something, you often find that you must redo your entire outline.


A pantser is a writer who writes “by the seat of your pants,” without an outline. Pantsers just like to start writing and see how it goes, letting the characters loose to do as they choose and to pick the direction of the story.

If you’re a pantser, you have the freedom to change anything at all, at any time you so choose. However, not knowing where you’re going sometimes means you get stuck. Many pantsers have strings of unfinished projects trailing along behind them.


I believe that you can be a combination of both extremes, and NaNoWriMo agrees with me, for it’s come up with this designation this year. A plantser is a writer who has a basic idea where the story is going, but likes the freedom to explore tangents. Plantsers usually have a rough outline of some sort, or at least a vague idea of the plot.

I think this is the best of both worlds. You’ve got the road map, but you’re giving yourself the opportunity to try different routes along the way.

Blathering: Reality Interrupts My Virtual Life Once Again

As with all of my creative friends, I spent yesterday in a state of shock. It’s still hard for me to believe that a doctrine of hatred, bigotry, racism, name-calling and pomposity actually carried the popular vote. As long as I’m putting my politics on the line, I can admit that neither candidate had my total support, but I was willing to take a chance on Hillary rather than go with the hate ballot.


Based on what we have seen this past year or so, America is now in for four years of fear and loathing, with occasional rants and tantrums and massive propaganda campaigns against … well, pretty much anyone who isn’t a white male.

Not being a white male, I feel it is only natural that I feel trepidation when faced with this new regime. Being friends with so very many non-white males and females, I feel it is only natural that I fear for their safety as well. I fear for everyone in this country who is different, for that is what Trump and his Trumpettes are afraid of.

We are entering an age where the dumbing down of America has reached its climax, where it is no longer admirable to seek to better your education, your mind, or anything other than your wallet. In our new America, it is better to be ignorant and afraid of anything you don’t understand — and since you’re ignorant, that will be pretty much everything in the universe.

Even though I am not Jewish, the Holocaust has always terrified me because it is so very easy for ignorance to be stirred to horrific acts against others. It is so very easy to fan the flames of fear and hatred, to turn human against human.

I have no good advice for getting through these next four years because I just don’t understand their fear-based thinking well enough. My reaction to fear has always been to learn as much as I can about whatever it is I’m afraid of, so that I can conquer it. Their reaction is to destroy whatever they suspect might be causing their fear.

Keep your heads down, my friends. Act dumb and go along with things so long as nobody is getting hurt. But if the violence starts, we’re going to have to stand up and get hurt rather than step back and let someone else take a beating. Don’t stand aside as they come for someone else, because it will end with them coming for you. Stand up for the true American values: freedom to be who we are, love for all humanity, and a sincere desire to better yourself in all ways.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope Americans are not going to degenerate into violence against Americans. I hope Trump does a 180 and becomes, if not a wise leader, at least one who listens to his advisors before acting. I hope we can love one another as Americans have always tried to do before. I hope everyone lives through this.

Be safe.

It’s That Time Again!

No, not the holiday season – though it is getting to that point as well.


No, I mean it’s National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo is an event where you pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. There’s a website, local live chapters, and lots of inspiration and help.

If you manage to reach your goal, not only do you have what’s technically a novel (even though mine run more to 90-100K), but you get some nice virtual prizes as well.

So if you don’t see me as often this month, it’s because I’m trying desperately to reach my 1667 daily word goal.