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Thursday, October 29, 2015


Even though Sleuths' Ink has it's own writing competition called JANO - (get more info about that on the JANO 2016 page to the right) - many of our members join hundreds of thousands of other people around the world and also participate in the original challenge that is National Novel Writing Month. If you've been under a rock for the last fifteen years and don't know anything about it, here is a link.


So, in the spirit of NaNo and our own upcoming JANO here are a few tips to get you through November and January.

  1. Buy easy to fix food. You've got to eat, but let's face it, there won't be a lot of time to prep and cook. I'm big on frozen pizzas, burritos, and mac & cheese. If you don't have a crock pot - go buy one. Great for soups, chili, and pot roast.
  2. You will need plenty of caffeine - whether you prefer coffee, soda,  or tea, make sure you have some. It sure helps with early morning writing before work or late night catch up.
  3. You must commit to writing everyday. To meet the challenge, you need 1667 words a day. If you miss just one day, you are behind. And believe me, it is extremely hard to catch up. 
  4. If you have a family, clue them in beforehand. They will need to be more independent and do things you usually do for them. Don't surprise them on the first of the month. They'll rebel and you will feel guilty. They'll probably rebel anyway, but at least you get to say "I told you about this."
  5. DO NOT EDIT. Lock that inner critic in the attic or basement. Put duct tape over their mouth. You don't have time for them this month. Later you can release them and maybe buy them an ice cream cone. 
  6. And because you can fix things next month, here are some easy cheats to increase word count: Do not use contractions. See what I did there? Don't is one word - do not is two. Easily fixed later with find and replace. All your characters have first, middle and last names - maybe even titles that they use every time they are introduced. "Hello. I am Queen Of Everything Victoria Marie Washington." Describe everything in thorough and complete detail. This is when you can use all those metaphors and similes you have been dying to use. Hint - put these in bold italics so they are easy to find when you are ready to edit. 
Most of all have fun. If you get behind - so what - you have more words than you did yesterday and closer to your goal of writing a novel.


Beth said...

Good tips! I've never participated in NaNo but love our JANO.

Cynthia E said...

Thanks for the advice. I don't think I'm ready for NaNo--but maybe JANO.

Shirley said...

Very good advice. I think it would be hard to make two words out of most contractions. It wouldn't come naturally to me. But I'll try.

Janet Kay Gallagher said...

My JANO 2015 count was 6,246
NANO I have added 4,013

Total JANO count 10,250

30 November 2015
10:20 PM

Madeline said...

Good tips indeed. However, plans have crashed and burned as I have one teen off school at home and the other two threatening to also become contaminated with a local dose of flu. Still, at least I haven't caught it ... yet.