It's here - the big day. Big month. Big everything.
The queen of suspense, Mary Higgins Clark, said about first drafts:
Writing a first draft is like clawing my way through a mountain of concrete with my bare hands.
Isn't that the truth?
the point of Nano is to write so fast that you - sometimes - forget
that your hands are dripping blood. It's a stellar way of turning off
your censor (we all have one of those little suckers) and just get those
I'll be posting Nano prompts throughout the month, but here's a list of helpful hints if you find yourself stuck.
Keep moving forward – DO NOT go back and endlessly revise your first
chapters. You may end up throwing them out anyway. Just move
forward. If you’re stuck on a scene, just write down vaguely what might
happen in it or where it might happen as a place marker and move on to a
scene you know better. The first draft can be just a sketch – the
important thing is to get it all down, from beginning to end. Then you
can start to layer in all the other stuff.
2. Keep the story elements checklist close at hand for easy reference.
- Story Elements Checklist for Generating Index Cards
Or if you prefer the elements in a narrative:
Narrative Structure Cheat Sheet
3. Review the elements of the act you're stuck on.
- Elements of Act One
- Elements of Act Two, Part 1
- Elements of Act Two, Part 2
- Elements of Act Three
- What Makes A Great Climax?
- Elevate Your Ending
- Creating Character
As you're writing, you will find out more about your story. Write the
premise again, and make sure you have identified and understand the Plan
and Central Story Action.
- Plan, Central Question, Central Story Action
- What's the Plan?
- Plan, Central Question, Central Story Action, part 2
5. When you’re stuck - make a list.
- Stuck? Make A List.
Do word lists of visual and thematic elements for your story to build
your image systems. Start a collage book or online clip file of images
if that appeals to you.
- Thematic Image Systems
7. Remember that the first draft is always going to suck.
- Your First Draft Is Always Going To Suck
8. You can always watch movies and do breakdowns to inspire you and break you through a block.
Good luck, everyone - and feel free to stop in and gripe!
Screenwriting Tricks for Authors and Writing Love, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors, II, are now available in all e formats and as pdf files. Either book, any format, just $2.99.
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- Smashwords (includes online viewing and pdf file)
- Barnes & Noble/Nook
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