Three Tactics for Battling Your Way Through NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year when we fasten our capes, buckle on our swords, brace our fingers, and begin to fight—ahem, write.

Fifty thousand words written in one month. Are the warriors who attempt this venture insane or courageous? Perhaps they are both, but whether you defeat NaNo or merely survive it, the fight will strengthen you in your day to day struggles against word counts and plot twists. After all, producing a five-hundred word article is nothing compared to writing two thousand words a day for a whole month.3tacticsslider

With this major battle before you, here are three tactics that can give you victory in your quest.

1. Deadlines

Yep, those things that nag at you when you try to ignore life—or writing. But deadlines make sense. No one enters a war with the whole fight laid out before them. Instead, a soldier is assigned one mission at a time. Wars are divided into battles, and battles into maneuverers. Conquered piece by piece, what at first seems overwhelming becomes at least doable.

Fifty thousand words in a month seems like a huge amount, but 10,250 a week breaks it down a little. If you plan to write six days a week, that’s only an average of 1,725 words a day—which is roughly five hundred words multiplied three and a half times! That’s not so bad. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Hope Ann
Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legends of Light novellas and is the Kingdom Pen Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration. You can claim one of her stories for free at: https://authorhopeann.com/rose-of-the-night/

Creating a NaNo Outline When It’s Already November

Early October came and went and you said you had a month to prepare.

Mid-October came and went and you said you had two weeks to write a short outline.

The end of October came and went, and now you’re here in November with no outline, no plot line, and a looming deadline.nanooutlinepost

Take heart! Not all is lost. Most stories are about someone trying to gain or accomplish an objective that someone else doesn’t want to happen. That means your story only needs three elements to be a success: a hero, a villain, and a goal.

All right, let’s get to it. You have precious little time to waste writing yourself into and out of corners, plot holes, and poorly developed story worlds. You need an outline. But it doesn’t have to be super detailed—just a rough map that will guide you from word one to word fifty thousand. And that’s exactly what we’re going to figure out. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Brandon Miller
Raised on C.S. Lewis and matured (to whatever extent) on Tolkien, Brandon Miller is a huge fan of Christian speculative fiction. His favorite stories artfully bend the physical reality to reveal spiritual realities which apply to all realms, kingdoms, districts and solar systems (including our own.)
When not writing fiction Brandon spends his time tending his blog The Woodland Quill, sportsing, or just struggling through that last-year-of-high-school/first-year-of-college which is really neither but is definitely both.

How to Avoid Freaking Out During NaNoWriMo

Ah, fall…my favorite season. It is around this time each year that I find myself participating in a few of the essential autumn activities—apple picking, pumpkin carving, and freaking out because I am not ready for NaNoWriMo! In all likelihood, you have also participated in one or more of these activities yourself, but today I’d like for us to focus our attention on freaking out, and why you don’t have to.nanoannouncement

First, Freaking Out

NaNoWriMo has become a staple event among writers, so I need not explain it to you here. An entire website has been dedicated to it (check it out). During the month of November (aka National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo) we all relinquish a hefty portion of our sanity in order that we might have the chance to maybe crank out a 50,000-word novel (if we’re lucky). Thankfully, the Kingdom Pen Community and Staff are here to help you eliminate the italicized words in the previous sentence and retain that robust sanity you’ve built up since the last NaNoWriMo. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton has had what he describes as a scatterbrained adventure of a life that has recently led him to working at Kingdom Pen. When he wasn’t teaching underprivileged children in Uganda and rafting on the White Nile, he was either in Canada’s capital city studying the history of Christianity or in Michigan learning how to make films. Originally from Banner Elk, North Carolina, Michael grew up homeschooled and surrounded by the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. Those mountains inspired Michael’s love of writing (and, let’s face it, the Lord of the Ringsmovies also helped). Many years and adventures later, Michael found himself getting a marketing degree, and low and behold, Kingdom Pen was in need of a Marketing Director. What are the odds that God didn’t see that coming? All divine providence allusions aside, Michael is super excited to get to work in an organization that so closely matches his desires to see more quality content streaming from the minds and hearts of his fellow Christians.

The Writer’s Hardest Challenge…Writing

I’d heard about NaNoWriMo for years before I finally figured out what it was…National Novel Writing Month. Except the goal of writing 50,000 words though the month of November, and the goal of writing a whole novel aren’t quite the same thing for me since my books somehow make themselves quite a bit longer than 50,000 words.hardestchallenge

Anyway, that’s not important. It’s also, I hope, not too important for this topic that I’ve never actually had the time to participate in the November NaNo, though I was part of one of the NaNo camps earlier this year.

Still I am a writer. And one of the keys to completing NaNo, and to writing in general, is to actually sit down and write. Alright, so that’s fairly obvious. But obvious doesn’t mean easy, and writing steadily can be anything but easy.

Still, here are a few tips about how to write regularly and get your book or story done, be it during one month or a dozen.

Make reasonable goals dependent on the time you have.

There’s already the 50,000 word goal for NaNo, but setting a word or chapter count for yourself will help in everyday writing as well. Set yourself a date to get your book or story done by, be it one month or six, and make sure you give yourself a reasonable amount of time. If you’re busy with school and a dozen other things, setting yourself an impossible word count goal on top of that will just cause frustration. The goal doesn’t have to be easy, but it should be doable. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Hope Ann
Hope Ann is a speculative fiction writer who lives on a small farm in northern Indiana. She has self-published three Legends of Light novellas and is the Kingdom Pen Writing Team Captain. Reading since the age of five, and introducing herself to writing at age eight, she never had a question that the author’s life was the life for her. Her goal is to write thrilling Christian fantasy and futuristic fiction — stories she longed for while growing up. After graduating from homeschool, Hope now teaches writing to several of her eight younger siblings. She loves climbing trees, archery, photography, Lord of the Rings, chocolate, and collecting shiny things she claims are useful for story inspiration. You can claim one of her stories for free at: https://authorhopeann.com/rose-of-the-night/

When You’re Stuck in the Middle of NaNoWriMo

By Elizabeth Dykes

If you’re at all familiar with NaNoWriMo or writing in general, you’re sure to have heard of that maddening and mysterious…sickness. Sickness of the imagination, one might say. Writer’s block.

It strikes sometime between the second and third week of November. Sometimes the symptoms appear as early as the first week. Your initial enthusiasm has worn off, and you’re probably wondering why you ever thought NaNoWriMo was a good idea in the first place. stuck_pinterest

“Your store of inspiration is about as empty as your coffee cup. Any decent plot ideas seem to have gathered somewhere in a forgotten, dusty corner of the proverbial basement.”

Your characters are as uncooperative as your villain’s minion back in chapter four. Your outline (if you have one) looks like it’s gone through a paper shredder. The cursor in your word processor blinks steadily, mocking you.

You are about to break the silence with a frustrated scream when your phone rings. It is your writerly friend from Kingdom Pen, sharing exciting news about their own story and asking about your progress. You shake your head and sigh, lips forming the dreaded words, “I haven’t written today. I have writer’s block.”

Fortunately for you, your characters, and anyone else in close proximity to you during the month of November, writer’s block is a mostly curable disease.

Figure out where you’re going

[Read more…]

The #1 Reason You Won’t Complete NaNoWriMo This Year

It is once again that crazy time of year where writers everywhere decide to embark on a heroic quest of their own: writing an entire novel in just one month.

If you have decided to take on this massive enterprise for the first time, or are coming off of a failed attempt last year, this goal may seem even more daunting than it really is. The truth is, writing a novel in one month is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is write 1667 words every day. Or, to reduce that down even more, only 833 words an hour for two hours a day, or, 209 words every 15 minutes. 1reason_nanowrimopinterest

Do you think you can write 209 words every 15 minutes? Of course you can! 209 words is nothing!

So why then do so many not succeed in writing a novel in a month?

We make a lot of excuses. Being too tired, not having enough time, something else coming up, etc. But very rarely do any of these excuses account for not writing a novel in a month. Surely, even the busiest person can find 8 fifteen minute sections in a day to write 209 words. It’s not about time or capability. You have the ability and the time to write a novel in just one month. However, the reason you may not lies inside your head.

I successfully completed NaNoWriMo in 2012, but then failed to complete a novel the following year. Why? The same reason why I think a lot of others don’t finish: perfectionism.

More and more as I write, it is becoming increasingly difficult to turn off that inner editor voice in my head telling me my writing is absolutely appalling. I’ll just be merrily writing along when, BAM! Off goes the bad writing alarms.

Inner editor: Oh my gosh! You just used an adverb there! That’s weak writing! [Read more…]

Why I’m Going to Fail NaNoWriMo This Year

Not exactly the title you were expecting to see from a NaNoWriMo-prep article on Kingdom Pen, now was it?

Pretty soon, the beginning of November will hit and writers all around the world will be starting NaNoWriMo: when they attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just one month.  At this point, several of you probably plan on doing it, several of you have probably decided against it, and some of you are on the fence.

This article is written for those people who are on the fence about it. 

A bit of background information about my own experience here may be appreciated.  I’ve done NaNoWriMo twicenanowrimopinterest before: once in 2011 and once in 2012.  Both times I competed, wrote, and managed to succeed at hitting the 50,000 word mark.  I was more productive in writing than I had ever been before, and more than that, I enjoyed the challenge.

But then I stopped doing NaNoWriMo.  There were a couple of legitimate reasons for this.  First off, I was in the middle of revising my work from the previous years, and I wasn’t about to put it down mid-progress in order to start a new work.  But there was another reason as well.  I had started college.  And the idea of trying to write 50,000 words while handling a full load of college classes sounded insane to me.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

This year, however, I’m planning on doing NaNoWriMo.  But not only that, but I’m also planning on failing NaNoWriMo.  Why, you might ask?  The short answer is that trying while failing is better than not trying at all.  Read on as I try to answer this question more fully. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

October and November Themes

Ellohay Ingdomkay Enpay!

 

Here is your friendly reminder on the monthly writing themes coming up for Kingdom Pen.

 

October:

 

October Theme Post Graphic

This month we would like to post articles on gore and Darkness. No, we don’t want you sending us excessively gory and dark articles; rather, this month we would like to discuss where the line is. How much is too much? How dark is too dark? How much gore is too much?

 

We can’t wait to read what you have to say on this subject!

 

November: 

 

We are also including November’s theme in this update because we have changed it. Rather than dialogue, we would like to feature articles related to National Novel Writing Month. Have you attempted or completed NaNoWriMo before? What are some tips you could give to others attempting to make the feat?

November Theme Blank

We would love to be able to publish a bunch of encouraging articles concerning NaNo during the month of November to help inspire the Kingdom Pen community to persevere in their noble quest to write an entire novel in one month!

So if you have some advice, tips, or encouragement concerning NaNo, write those up and send those articles to us ASAP! This will ensure that we will be able to them scheduled in time for November to provide aid to Kingdom Pen’s writing warriors.

We can’t wait to read your submissions!