How to Boost Your Word Count #Nanowrimo #Nanowrimo2017

Nanowrimo or the National Novel Writing Month is in full swing. Everywhere online, you hear word counts approaching ten, twenty, thirty, thousand words or even above that till your head spins how to churn out words fast enough to meet the high standard. But staring at your screen or binging on coffee isn’t going to achieve that (second thoughts, binging on coffee might!)

Anyway, here are a few ways to improve your output.

Focus on interaction:

Don’t delay, wasting time setting up your story or obsessing about research. Get your characters interacting. Which is the scene when two opposing forces come face to face? Three chapters down? Don’t wait for it, bring it out right now. The more interested you are in your book, the faster the words will flow.

Don’t plan:

Not the story. You should plan the story, because you want to see where you’re going (unless you’re a pantser) What I mean is, don’t plan how many words you will write today. Better think, I will write three scenes or still better, today Christine will go about her day and experience three things that will make her change her mind about changing her career. And so on and so forth. When you aim to get to a story point, you feel energized and motivated.

Writing sprints:

This is the best part about Nanowrimo. You can join in writing sprint – set a time period and find friends to write for that time. Then compare. Healthy competition is good for words.

So, to sum up, write about conflicts and showdowns, don’t obsess about the word count and join in writing sprints. Here’s to a successful Nanowrimo for us all.

If you feel like a break in this stressful time, (this is me, indulging in a bit of shameless promo) feel free to check out my latest romance novel, Last Man She’d Love.

Blurb:

He’s flirty…she’s cool…both are fighting an irresistible attraction

Lyna finds herself caught in a situation where she has to break her engagement. Next thing, she’s asking her oh-so-attractive boss Guy for help. With his breezy charm, he succeeds in turning every woman in his radius to putty- except her. Why did she get involvedwith him? 

Last Man She’d Love is a kindle bestseller. Right now it’s a bargain at 25% off.

Check it out at:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07475QM2N 

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How to write a romance novel for Camp Nanowrimo

Piyusha Vir wrote this lovely post about her difficulties in attempting Camp Nanowrimo. For the uninitiated, Camp Nanowrimo is  a virtual writers’ camp where you can set a target and push yourself to achieve it. Piyusha wants to write 10,000 words, but wants to know how to pen a romance novel during Camp Nanowrimo. You can read her list of queries here:
https://wanderingsoul2015blog.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/how-do-i-write-a-novel/

Piyusha, thanks for tagging me to answer your queries. Since your questions were too numerous to be answered in a simple comment box, here’s my response in the form of a blog post:

Don’t chain together incidents without theme.

A novel is not a running commentary of various incidents. The point of a story is not that protagonist has to get from point A to point B. Well, it can be a useful instrument to form the setting of your story. Eg the hero and the heroine are both going to visit La Tomatina festival and for various reasons have to travel together. In a romance novel, it can serve to bring the characters in enforced propinquity, but beyond that, you cannot use this premise. Neither can you just have your character move from an event like attending a concert to another of attending a wedding. You can have these, but only if these situations serve a  purpose in your story and move it forward. Eg did she see the hero’s ex at the concert and begin to feel insecure? Did he attend the wedding and learn from a relative that she’d had a terrible year because her parents died in an accident?
As your story progresses, the theme tying all the incidents should become clear. What is your story about? In the above example, you could make your theme about redemption. Did the heroine break law when she was angry about losing her parents? Has she since then carved a new and better life for herself?

No lengthy description of the mundane 
Your second query is: do I describe every (boring) detail in the story?
Answer: You don’t have to describe everything. In fact, you should stay away from making that mistake.
A novel has limited number of pages and readers have limited attention span. If you describe every mundane thing, it will waste story pages and annoy your reader. We know how people get ready. You don’t need to describe every act your protagonist goes through to reach the place of action. So, if she’s meeting the hero, it would be sufficient to mention she reached there. Did she take the trouble to do her hair? Was he straightening his tie as she walked towards him? That is useful because it conveys the state of the mind of the character. Otherwise, skip the mundane descriptions.

Don’t add details irrelevant to the story

You shouldn’t mention anything that doesn’t add to the story.
A bird chirping in the distance. Now, that is a natural thing to notice, but in your story you have to add detail only when it brings out emotions and reactions of your characters. Eg your hero is about to stand for elections and receives the  shocking news about the heroine’s unsavory past. Picture him focusing on periphery rather than his own pain and conflicted emotions. Does he hear the chirping of the bird because his own world has come to a standstill? Now the little detail serves to add impact to your story.

Confusing character and characterization:

The query was, “My character can’t go from being carefree and confident in the first part of the story to someone who is always anxious and needs re-assurance in the second part.”
Answer: You don’t change who your character is at the core. The story follows the arc of the character’s journey. The GMC should be clearly delineated. The character in your story has a goal, motivation, conflict. By the end, they may change their goal and hence motivation and resolve the conflict. In a romance, that’s how they find a HEA. In the above example, the hero might find he doesn’t really want to contest elections if he has to give up the heroine. Thus, the motivation to act in the way he has been acting, is now gone.

hcd-cover.jpg.jpg         aar-cover.jpg.jpeg        mtjd-cover.jpeg.jpeg

Romances have a common storyline. Or do they?
Romances have been done before. That doesn’t mean a new story has no freshness about it. When you write a romance, you have to focus on what’s special about your story. What is standing in the way of your protagonists and how they will overcome the issues between them? What twists or self revelations will landmark your characters’ way to finding their HEA? A happy ending is a must for a romance and it’s the author’s job to make it convincing, despite all the odds that have been presented in the book.
Btw the above plot is a budding idea of a new book. Hope you found the example helpful.
Keep writing and good luck for Camp Nanowrimo!

#Nanowrimo Bravehearts Let’s hear Your Plots

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The first of November brings the beginning of a kind of madness for a large number of people the world over. They are an intrepid but overzealous lot who live in the false impression that they can stay normal and still win this whale of a writing comp known as Nanowrimo which is spoken of in awed accents in the writerly circles.
If you have participated earlier then you know that the words ‘crazy’ and ‘Nanowrimo’ are synonyms. Have you been still lost to reason enough to participate? Well, I have anyway. I confess, I couldn’t resist it. It’s crazy chaos but it helped me finish two writing projects, one of which is now published! That is Book2 in the Princesses Saga, The Eligible Princess.

So I’m prepared for a mad racy November.

Are you? 🙂

I’m going to take a shot on writing my new historical, the third in the Princesses Saga, that is the story of warrior princess Liya. Keep checking back here for updates 🙂

If you are bitten the bullet as well, then you must have some idea of what you want to write. Let’s hear what you have planned or plotted till now. In the comments, you can share the blurb, outline or synopsis or even just jntroduce the characters. Let us know what you are going to be writing for Nanowrimo.
All the best, Nanowrimo bravehearts! Keep at it and you will win the day! 🙂

#writerstipwednesday #Writingtips

Writing is an art which requires extensive knowledge of the craft and even more amount of hard work. With pressures of day job – if you have one – and daily routine, it’s easy to get immersed in ‘life’ and feel disenchanted with writing. To keep you penning those words, whether you are a beginner or an already published author, here are some gems of advice from those who have been through it.

“Use a timer to write everyday and exercise your writing muscles.” This rejuvenating tip is from Nanowrimo winner Morton Gray.

Maya Tyler whose has debuted in the paranormal genre with Dream Hunter has an alert for you. “First you write, then you sell? No, you need to establish an author platform and learn how to manage social media long before you publish your first book.”

Here are my own two cents. “While researching keep your focus on the key words and the vision you have for your story. It’s all too easy to get drawn to interesting facts and try to weave them into your book. But that’s a pothole to avoid. Let research serve your book, not the other way around.”
This was an important lesson learned after wasting two hours to establish one single fact in the historical romance I’m currently editing. *sigh* I should write fantasy.

So have you found these useful? Do you agree or disagree? Share what works or doesn’t work for you in writing in the comments below.

Writing first draft? Never look back!

Hello there! Some time back I started on a new writing project. I had a new story brimming in my mind. I talked to my editor and what we discussed really set the charting of the characters’ journey in my mind. I wrote out the synopsis and my editor really liked it. I named the characters and they began to ‘talk’ in my mind – which is how a new story always starts for me. Btw what is your process, if/when you write? Do share!

Anyway, I wrote the first scene and then the second. There were a few hitches because when I write, my left brain, the supposed sentinel of logic, walks off whistling blithely. So naturally there were holes. I made the fatal mistake. I went back and reread and began to edit. Uncertainties began to bee-swarm me… maybe the scene shouldn’t start with conversation? Maybe this part of internal pov should be shifted to the next section? Maybe I don’t need this scene AT ALL?

And it went downhill from there.

I wrote more. Then again the internal editor came out and began to thrash my wip. How could this scene fit here? I made changes which led to changes in the previous scene. Which led to doubt in the PREMISE. And toppled the PLOT itself.

Now it wasn’t downhill. It was rock bottom, no, it was in a pit that I had dug it. And then by going over it again and again I kept shovelling dirt till the story just became buried in my own criticism.

I couldn’t go back to the manuscript. I had the least desire to even open the folder now. The story was submerged in the millions of possibilities I had opened to it, instead of the single minded focus with which it began. The fun was gone. And when you aren’t having fun, it shows in your writing.

That is, if you can get yourself to write. I couldn’t. I put that on hold and worked on something else.

What did I get out of it? Two weeks wasted and a flat line on my enthusiasm monitor. But I did get an important lesson out of it. A lesson I knew but for the nth time forgot.

While writing don’t edit. You can’t do both.

John Steinbeck said it best,
“Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.”

However *sigh* people like me can’t make use of advice till it’s passed through the filter of their own painful experience.

If you can stop yourself, do. That’s why Nanowrimo is good for first drafts. Do look back and take stock of the story, do alter your plot if it suits the characters but not while writing the first version. Make notes in colour to remind you what you wanted to edit but DON’T EDIT right now. Second draft is for left brain polishing. For the first, let it go whistling. Trashing scenes is much more fruitful when you have it all down there.

So don’t look back. Don’t attempt to fix it.

Just write.

On writing multiple projects

Sometimes writing is difficult and writers’ block is a wall of concrete that doesn’t let creativity break through. But I wonder if there’s a name for the opposite condition? What when multiple ideas fill your mind and you can’t concentrate on just one because you have to do justice to them all? This is what has been going on with me last few months, in fact since I took part in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel writing month competition. Nano was in fact good because it channeled my Muse and made me work on one project. But before and since I have had a hard time getting my mind to stick to anything. There is no dearth of ideas for a change. I get brilliant flashes of inspiration for characters and have written three chapters each for at least three different stories. The characters are all knocking in my head asking for their story to be told but somehow it’s hard to get fixed on anyone out of all three. On top of that I have the Nano novel (more appropriately Nano heap) waiting to get edited! While struggling with the ideas jostling in my head, I have gained some insight into how to write (at least partly) more than one manuscript at a time so would like to share that with you. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re doing multiple writing projects.

Fill character sheets.

Character sheets are very helpful. You can track your character their past and present and whenever you pick up your wip  x, y or z, all you have to do is glance over the sheets and the characters are back in your mind fully formed and raring to get into their story. For a brief character bio, write down three key incidents from their past at different stages of their lives.

Write only one story per day minimum.

If possible keep that for a week. Because yes, it’s true one cannot multi-write effectively. For short stretches it works. And sometimes it even pushes your creativity. But when you’re deep in a story, don’t juggle. When you’re in the idea phase or just beginning for me at least it’s ok to pingpong from one to the next. But not when things get to the dramatic turning points in the story.

Shift between writing and editing.

It actually is relaxing. Because editing is this tiring, never ending, uphill journey which yields results you can appreciate only when done. But writing is creating and much more fulfilling. So going back and forth can really charge you up. So all in all, by following the above ways I was able to work simultaneously at more than one story. Of course it sometimes took me ten seconds to think and type the character’s name because I’d get confused who actually was in the story I was penning down! Occasionally I have left dots to be filled later. Lol!

For now I’ve decided to work on one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. Except when you’re actually utilizing the time that otherwise you’d be wasting. Then it’s something like frying out potato fingers while waiting for cake to bake. So if you’re waiting to hear back on something do use the time to get into your next project. Or if you’re editing.

Now I have the Nano heap to tackle….and Camp Nano has started and beckons to join in. I’m resisting because I want to finish the earlier things first. As for the heap, well easy to decide what to do about that. Why not keep the toughest job for the last? All I have to do is shove it to the folder and forget it. Except that isn’t the way to get anything finished! So I’ve decided to be brave and get the editing done. And then to finish those partials!

What are you doing in your writing? Do you hate editing enough to keep procrastinating? Are you juggling with multiple projects? Did you find any tips helpful? Do get back, I’d love to hear from you!