Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Okay, so it didn’t take a lot of prodding to get me into the idea of writing for the month of November. I was an active participant in the 2010 NaNoWriMo and last year, I used the time to help my daughter work on her fine motor skills and imaginative thinking (something I myself am not particularly good at).

So, last night I came across a blog that had been Freshly Pressed entitled, “NaNoWriMo – Embrace the Icky Sticky”. In this entry, our resident blogger, Dave Farmer discusses what he terms “the Icky Sticky”. I’m not good with gross things on my hands but the imagery works, so “when in Rome”. His theory is when you hit the point in your writing he calls, “The Lifeless River Bed of Despondency and Meh” (which is actually kind of catchy, maybe we could build “The Writer’s Block” bar, pub and coffee shop on the banks of this river bed?), you need something to bring life back to your characters and move your story forward, such as stepping in chewing gum, to use one of his many examples.

This is a problem I often have in my own writing. I can write great scenes worthy of high praise from the wall I read them to (literally, my husband is deployed, I talk to walls.), but I have a lot of trouble moving from one scene to the next. It’s not like writing a screenplay or theatrical production where you can just type “End Scene” and move on to something completely new in the next act. There has to be an action that brings the characters to the next scene, something that forces them to move in that direction and thus progress the story you are telling.

This, my dear readers, is where I need your help… I often get stuck in these no man’s lands between scenes and I’m not very good at bridging the gaps. My mind and way of thinking really only function on one level and unfortunately, being non-neurotypical puts me at a disadvantage in terms of creative writing. This is something I am working on, which is why I keep forcing myself to write fiction, though it would be so much easier to just write events in chronological order and call it a book.

I’m asking you, dear friends and fellow bloggers, for ideas. I need “ick”! No matter how random they may seem. I don’t have a specific genre for this book, so if you suggest a Blood Elf wielding fireballs running through the streets igniting the police vehicles chasing it bumps into the main character singeing her hair as she falls, I would probably include it. It’s fast paced, interesting, completely unexpected and maybe that fall in the street makes her late for a meeting or prevents her from being in her apartment when a serial killer breaks in and she comes home to a large police presence outside her building. If a bus breaks down preventing my MC from getting to bank before it closes, or if a new character shows up for a page or two, these are all the types of things Mr. Farmer suggests can help move the story forward.

These are the types of actions I lose sight of once I’m actually in the moment and writing. These are the places I falter, I just can’t seem to come up with the “Icky Sticky” that helps bridge the scenes and move the story. I know where I want to go, but not how to get there. It’s like being late for an appointment held at a location you’ve never been before and your GPS is broken… I see the painting and not the brush strokes, I see the forest but can’t find the trees.

50,000 words in 30 days, I think the breakdown is 1,667 words a day if I remember that correctly (which I probably do because I’m better with numbers than with words). I’m toying with the idea of posting each days writing here to the blog so each of you can follow the story as it progresses. Any ideas I use would be credited to the originating party, with a link back to your own blog, on the day that they were used.

So let’s have it!? A character, setting, action, doesn’t matter what it is. Anything that you think is interesting or would add interest to an otherwise failing storyline (and let’s face it, we’ve all read a failing storyline at one time or another), please leave it in the comments. I look forward to reading what you have and the possibility of using it in our story this November.


P.S. I would encourage you all, if you feel adventurous, to take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo. I didn’t succeed my first go round, but I’m excited for the chance to do it again. I’m currently proofreading what I did write for the 2010 NaNo. Remember, this is about words on the page, proofreading is for December πŸ˜‰ And we can borrow ideas from each other… Just because we include the same fire wielding Blood Elf, doesn’t mean our story is going to take the same turn after the encounter is over.


10 thoughts on “Preparing for NaNoWriMo

  1. jschotz says:

    I usually bring in new characters when I have this issue, although I know that’s probably not the best way to deal with it. Dream sequences, lost pets, and car crashes are also plot devices I’ve used when I felt the story going flat… again, not terribly inventive, but useful nonetheless.

    On a side note, greetings from a fellow NaNo-er! Good luck with the coming month πŸ˜€

    • Good luck to you too! Admittedly, I never made it to the big 50k last time around, even after all the proofreading and rewriting I’m only at 28,421 words lol That’s, of course, after my computer crashed and I lost about 6,000 words (was so upset when that happened), but it was more than a year ago, so I’ll never know what I was missing now πŸ˜€

  2. Andrea Kelly says:

    I wish I could come up with something and creative and helpful, but I’m feeling totally brain dead at the moment (been sorting through closets all day lol). So instead I’ll just say good luck, and I’ll be sure to post anything should it come to mind! πŸ™‚

    • Well, find anything interesting in the closet?

      • Andrea Kelly says:

        Yes! So many shirts! I’ve discovered I apparently don’t wear anything that’s hanging up in my closet except the dresses and like, a few shirts. I don’t know why, I guess visually there’s just something easier about it for me when clothes are folded (maybe from working in the mall). I refolded most things so now I’m kinda excited to wear some of what I found πŸ™‚

      • Describe the most interesting piece you found in the closet. The one you are most excited about… Maybe my MC sees it in a window display and stops to look, thus avoiding being run over by a car running a red light?

      • Andrea Kelly says:

        Oh, that’s a good idea – and depending on the kind of story you’re writing, my favorite piece could even work!

        I found a creamy white dress that hits just around knee length, with short capped sleeves and a cropped black vest over the bust. It looks strikingly like Snow White’s dress, only a bit more modern, and in black and white πŸ™‚

        Hope it helps!!

  3. I have never NaNoWriMo’d but maybe another area for transitions is the “innocent mistake.” Tired and bleary-eyed in the morning, a character takes another family member’s pills. Or the dog’s. Do they hallucinate? ER? Go to work and people think they’re drunk? Or maybe, they assume the fireball-wielding elf is real instead of an actor shooting on location and they freak out. Bystanders capture the mayhem and post on youtube. Do they embrace the fame or get eaten up by the ridicule?

  4. […] this NaNoWriMo adventure began, I asked for suggestions to help get me from one point to another. (Preparing for NaNoWriMo) I am pleased to announce that Andrea Kelly of The Hand-Written Life made it into Chapter 15, with […]

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