Monday, November 25, 2013

No Plot? No Problem! Chapter 8

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No Plot? No Problem!

By Chris Baty

Chapter 8: WEEK FOUR: Champagne and the Roar of the Crowd

Whew! We made it to Week 4! How is it going for you?  As of this writing, I am at 33,637 words, which puts me 8,029 words behind.  Sounds bad, but also consider: including today, I just need to write less than 2,800 words a day. Or, 3,000 words a day on five days, plus a day to wrap up.  Or, 3,500 words a day on four days, plus a day to wrap up.  Now, one of those days is Thanksgiving, and another is Black Friday, so I'm going to try to get 5,000 in today, which will put me in good shape to make it.

But that's my race to 50k. Let's get back to yours.

Baty wants us to go to the grocery store to buy a couple of bottles of champagne. (Sorry, folks in Pennsylvania. You can go to the state store, I guess.)

That done, take the part of you that says, "Well, I've already written a lot! Can't a finish later?" And shut it up, because you probably won't.

OK, back to making it about me for just a moment.  Last year, my NaNoWriMo project was way too research-intensive, so I gave up and made it a long-term project instead.  The good news is, I'm still chipping away at it, and enjoying it.  The bad news? It's a year later and I'm not even close to the halfway point.  This year's project will have a lot more completed -- and a lot of work to be done on it -- but I can leave it on my hard drive until the last project is done, and then dust it off and shine the parts worth saving. If I ever finish last year's project.  Big if. Learn from me, here.

And back to you!

Point is, we can do this! We're going to do this! (Uh, knock wood)

Supposedly, the noveling this goes easier once we hit 35,000 -- which I expect to blow past today. The end is in sight! If, like me, you're not there, join me in getting there before you go to bed tonight!

But then there's the holiday.  Especially this year, with Thanksgiving falling so late, I was hoping to finish by Wednesday. Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Baty recommends giving family the heads-up, but I don't see that helping a lot in my case. Ultimately, he wishes us luck.  Thanks, Baty.  We need it.

Once we hit the 50k mark (again, knock wood), we need to celebrate.  This isn't just Baty's advice, it's an invitation.  Most of you reading this know me in real life.  Finish your 50k? Call me.

Now that Baty has discussed (and not especially helped with) the challenges of this week, he offers some tips, as he does. First, be sure to stretch your muscles and rest your eyes. After this month, and especially this week, you'll need it.

Blanking? You made notes, right? Check them! Make sure you hit all the points you planned!

Hit 50k before deadline?  What the hell! Keep going!

Brag! Baty suggests finding a not-too-embarrassing page (like, say, the title page), pull up the word count display, hit print screen, paste the screen grab to Paint, save the file, then email like whoa.

But we have to get there first, so Baty recommends some writing exercises for this week.

If you have a wordcount cushion, consider crossing the finish line in longhand.

And if you go to a party, talk about being a novelist. I mean, someone is going to ask you, "What do  you do?"

...OK, these tips aren't going to help my wordcount. But they're still fun!


Need padding? Describe the weather in your setting!

In the second sidebar, Baty offers some tricks for making your printout look like a real book.  They involve using your word processor's layout function the have it printed out in Landscape, two pages to a sheet (or four, if you print front and back).  I personally do this to save paper; looking cool is a fringe benefit.

And the third sidebar is anecdotes from past winners about how they crossed the finish line.  But you know what? I don't care how they did it.  I care how you did it.  So leave a note in the comments! (But not from your phone.  That doesn't work for some reason...)
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