Writing a Book: Tips for NaNoWriMo

Writing a Book: Tips for NaNoWriMo, guest post by Amy Korman

I love the idea of the hardboiled detective writer who sits up late in the night, smoking and writing, but personally I can’t stay up that late! I like to head to the computer as soon as the coffee is ready, hopefully before 6 am. This might be the only time to write for anyone with kids, dogs, and another job, which is me and most writers.

Writing a Book: Tips for NaNoWriMo, guest post by Amy Korman
A first draft for me starts with an outline, quick chapter highlights, and notes. It’s a Google Map for a book! I know where I’m going, and have an idea of how I’ll get there. I can stop for food, coffee, and scenic detours along the way, too, and might meet some surprising people along the way (those weird characters who pop up while I’m writing and who always help move the action along).

Having an outline makes the process a lot more focused for me, and then I really enjoy those left turns while I write. Structuring the plot and chapters also allows the characters themselves to do some unexpected and funny things.
It also helps to set your book in a place you know really well, and maybe even is right outside your window. Set up rewards for yourself (Starbucks mochas and dog walks work well for me), and anytime a new idea or plot twist comes to you, immediately type it up or email it to yourself, because life is busy and you can’t afford to forget a great idea.

If it’s in the middle of the night, make sure you write it down anyway! And have fun—if the book isn’t offering you a lot of joy as you’re banging away on your keyboard, take a quick break and throw in something unexpected for your characters to wrangle with.

Everyone approaches writing in their own way, but for anyone starting a NaNoWriMo project, I’d suggest moving forward at full speed without stopping to edit oneself too often until the end of the writing process. It’s important to push through with a positive, slightly insane passion and drive while you’re writing!

Writing a Book: Tips for NaNoWriMo, guest post by Amy Korman
Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, and Men’s Health. She is the author of KILLER WASPS, KILLER GETAWAY, and KILLER PUNCH.

Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com πŸ”—Goodreads πŸ”—Twitter πŸ”—, & Facebook πŸ”—!


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  1. Great post! If I was a writer, my rewards would be chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!


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