A couple of years ago, I read that over a quarter of a million people participate in NaNoWriMo each year, yet it seems to me that the program has a questionable record. How many good novels come out of it?
The answer I think is, “Far fewer than there should be.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a burst writer. I like to take a writing retreat to focus on a big project. But when you’re straining to reach a page goal, or a word-count goal, then a few bad things begin to happen.
Here is a list of them.
- The writer doesn’t take time to research. She might not get on the internet to do research at all. Even worse, she may not visit actual places to get the details right.
- The author doesn’t take time to fully imagine his scenes. In other words, he might not imbue them with the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, textures, emotions, thoughts, and movements that are necessary to bring a scene to life.
- The writer might not properly consider the complex motivations of her protagonists, antagonists, and so on when considering the intricacies of the scenes.
- The author might not consider how to twist the story in unexpected ways, having characters take unexpected courses that will lead to surprising plot turns.
Because of these problems, novels written too hastily often feel thin or underdeveloped, and inexperienced writers often feel baffled when considering how to fix them.
If this sounds like you, take heart. Most novels can be fixed. All you need to do is slow down, take your time, stretch your imagination to get the details that you’re looking for, and start on a rewrite.
Last week I taught a week-long writing workshop with some great writers. The workshop had sold out! Right now I'm scheduling my live writing workshops for next year. So far I have workshops in Utah, Florida, and Arizona, and I'm working on setting one up in California. Please check them all out here and don't wait to save your spot. They also make great holiday gifts.
One of our subscribers has a book launch coming up in December:
A Stone's Throw is the sequel to the popular YA fantasy Set in Stone. It will launch on Dec 4th, and is available for pre-order on Amazon for only $3.99 until launch day. Connor takes his adventures to a whole new level when he travels to the school of the Petralists. There, everything is about the game, and the stakes have never been higher. When Connor gets caught in a web of deadly intrigue, he launches his own game in a desperate bid for freedom, breaking all the rules, and shaking the great game to its roots.
The author, Frank Morin, is hosting a free hardcover giveaway. You can find details here.