Believe it or not, how you spend the next ten minutes of your writing time might determine whether you win or lose National Novel Writing Month. I’m not kidding.
There’s one single thing that you absolutely must do if want your novel to have any chance of seeing it through to “The End.” And you must do it now.
NaNoWriMo, if you’re wondering, is a national event that takes place every November. The goal is to write a 50,000-word work of fiction by the end of the month. You “win” if you cross the 50,000-word finish line. You may not end up with a full-fledged novel before December, but you’ll have a heck of a start.
How To Write A Novel in 50,000 Words or More
So how do you make sure your fledgling novel can go the 50,000-word distance? By giving your main character a goal. Here’s how.
Take a quick break from your hectic daily schedule, set a timer for ten minutes, and start writing. The trick is to really focus on the one thing your main character wants more than anything else. What is it? To get somewhere before a deadline? To find a missing person or a treasured object? To run away and start somewhere new? To stop a villain from carrying out a nefarious plan?
There’s only one way to find out! Start with this: “More than anything, my main character wants . . .” and then just keep writing. Don’t stop yourself. Don’t analyze. Just write. Make it big. Make it vital, primal, as if something inside the character will die without it. Write down why the character wants this. How she thinks it’ll make her life better. How she thinks it’ll fix the things that are broken in her world. Keep writing, and don’t stop until the timer goes off.
You Can Write A Book In a Month — If You Have a Goal
Finished? Here’s what you’ve done. You’ve figured out exactly what your character’s goal is — and the answer might surprise you! Sometimes what we think a story is going to be about is not what it’s really about.
From now until the end of November, all you have to do is send your character rushing headlong after her goal — and then prevent her from achieving it (until 50,000 words later, anyway). This tension of desperately wanting something vital, and doing everything possible to get it, yet never quite reaching success, will keep your novel going strong all month long.
Do you have a writing question? Need a writing coach to help you solve a problem with your novel? Just ask! And if you try this idea and like it, let me know!
Excellent suggestion! I'll pass it around.
Thanks! More often than not, when I find myself losing interest in a story (or even a book jacket or movie preview), it's because the main character's goal and motivation are unclear. It's not just WHAT they want, but WHY that matters.