Disclaimer: this is an article on the craft and business of writing. We are going to answer the questions raised within with honestly and bluntness. If you are here as a fan of our work, sometimes that can be jarring, so proceed at your own risk.
In a recent blog post you asked for questions we had about writing. I’m working on an outline for NaNoWriMo and am curious about their outlining process.
Here is a blog post on outlining. Let’s go one step further. Here is the preliminary synopsis of WILDFIRE.
This synopsis was provided to the publisher to indicate the general direction of the book. At the time, the major criticism of the outline was that it had too many explosions. There was action for the sake of action. Everything the characters do should advance both the plot and the character development.
If you have read Wildfire, you will note that the book diverges from the synopsis. This outline is meant as a guide. As you are writing the book and developing the characters, parts of your old outline will make no sense. Let them go. Remember, the object of the game is not to stick to the outline but to write the best book you have in you.
I do the NaNoWrMo events to help with the daily discipline of writing. My question is how did you design your writi g office for best work? I keep thinking buying a big white board to map out stuff and special chair mat for my computer chair on carpet would help. Any suggestions on budgeting for writingvstuff before the big sale? Any preferred pieces you like to use? Thc.
I require a desktop. Some people write well on a laptop, and I also have for a number of years. But I find that having a separate spot dedicated solely to writing like a desktop at a desk helps to put me in the right frame of mind. Sometimes the desk feels stifling and I will switch. But most of the time Gordon and I sit next to each other so a desktop is a must.
You want a good chair. If you are a woman, you want a good bra. This seems odd, but if you wear something ill-fitting and end up hunching over the desk, you will be in a world of pain pretty quickly.
That’s quality advice there – Ilona Andrews recommends wearing a good bra. Hell of a productivity tip. 😉
Basically, if you feel the need to make a little writing nest, do it. Buy the whiteboard, get the chair mat, find some cute critters to perch on your desk to help you write.
NaNoWriMo is about ritual. It’s sole purpose is to uncork you and get you over the threshold of self-criticism.
The only way to succeed at NaNoWriMo is to give yourself permission to write crap.
It doesn’t mean that you will actually produce crap, although it is very rare for NaNoWriMo projects to reach publication without extensive revisions. It means that you shut down the annoying voice in your head that wants to spend half an hour pondering the lackluster characters, or the weird plot twist, or a comma. It doesn’t matter what the voice says. It’s butt in a chair, words on a page, full steam ahead time.
If you do want to make an investment in your writing gear, I suggest spending a few bucks on a pair of good over-the-ear headphones and buying some video games or movie soundtracks. There will be time when you will need to shut down background noise.
Social Network soundtrack is remarkably good for concentration.
What software to you recommend for NaNoWriMo?
You have a couple of options. For NaNoWriMo specifically, I would recommend Scrivener, especially if you a Mac user. Scrivener is designed to get you to vomit words on the page.
I moved away from Scrivener, because the Windows version left me incredibly frustrated with its lack of features and absence of a robust spellcheck. Their spellcheck made me want to tear my hair out. If I turned off replace as you type features, I would typo and not notice and if I turned them on, they resulted in nonsense sentences. I use MsWord for first draft now. That’s how we wrote our first 4 or 5 books and, judging by the success of the last three, it’s working.
But my goal and process are different. I am not racing through thousands of words. I want to sit down and produce the first draft that requires minimal changes. I’m on a deadline. You are not.
Enjoy it while you can. Muhahahaha!