Random nano tips

It’s still Nano time, my writerly kinfolk, so here come some more word count tips!

Sex scenes and fight scenes take up a lot of room. I say, never gloss over them when doing Nano. If you don’t want such long scenes later, you can always trim them. I’ve got plenty of scenes tucked in random folders that I’m too embarrassed to show anyone.

If a particular scene isn’t lighting your fire, don’t skip it. For me, skipping around in a book makes it ten times harder to edit later. I also lose a sense of continuity. Instead of jumping over a scene that just won’t come to you, try writing it briefly, more as narrative notes than just [EXPOSITION GOES HERE]. Though I will admit, I have done that. We all have. I keep scenes that I’m not feeling simple, just including a summary of the information I want to convey plus a bit of dialogue and description so I can remember the tone I want later. And if you reach the end of your novel and haven’t gotten the words you wanted, you can always come back and flesh these out, an easier task if there’s something there.

Random characters need lines, too. Got a palace guard stuck in a corner in the middle of a scene? Got a rookie cop waiting two desks over? Give these people a few lines, even if you have to cut them later. Random people can quickly turn into interesting minor characters. And reading about Cristine, the sarcastic serving girl who’s saving up to go to military school is much more interesting than Bar Wench 3.

Just remember, everything that doesn’t work can be cut. Later. And it might not work where you originally put it, but it can always work somewhere else!

Anymore random tips anyone wants to share? How’s it going for you?

8 thoughts on “Random nano tips

  1. Since I don’t do NaNo I’m not sure if I’d do anything differently, but I tend to paint sex and battle scenes in broad strokes unless I’m really into it at that moment. These scenes are usually so pivotal for me that I don’t want to work them until I’m in the right frame of mind for romance or the logistics of battle. Since I outline, I can place some key descriptions and come back to them later to flesh them out.

    Re: minor characters
    This is true! I’ve come up with some really interesting characters all by chance when I gave them dialog or unique behavioral tics.

    How’s the house coming? All moved in?

  2. I don’t even think I can say I’m truly NaNoing anymore with the recent changes. But I am still adding a few words here or there and have gone back to another MS I’m thinking I better finish sooner than later. The tips you’re providing for NaNo not only work for word count but for allowing oneself to let the first draft flow out less restricted.

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