Tag Archives: fiction


The writing group I belong to is going to run a mini NaNo this year. I was trying to come up with a few tips for people who have never done it before. These would also apply to anyone doing full NaNo or just writing in general.

Are you thinking about participating, but are a little scared of the thought? It is a lot to commit to in such a short period of time.  With a mini version that task is less daunting. You set your goal. Take the time to think about what you believe you can commit to time-wise, make a rough guess at what you normally can do in that time, and stretch yourself a bit. Maybe add 5-10% to your estimated word count. If you think you can do 20,000, stretch it to 22,000. This is supposed to be a challenge after all. Here are a few tips to get you going.

Try to prepare in advance. Even if you’re a pantser like me, try to come up with some sort of outline so you aren’t staring into space trying to figure out where to start. That’s my biggest challenge. Keep in mind you don’t have to write just one story. It can be a collection of short stories or poems. Maybe write a chunk of your novel. Do whatever you feel moved to do and if you can come up with a general idea of the flow before you start, you have a much better chance at meeting your goal.

Don’t stop writing to do edits. The goal is NOT to end up with a ready-to-publish piece of work at the end of the month. The goal is to get the words on the paper. Don’t re-read what you’ve written. Don’t run spell check every 5 minutes. Just write. I realize it’s difficult for some people not to edit as they go, but that just slows you down.

Two phrases come to mind. (1) Bum in chair: you need to commit to write every day if possible. If you miss your daily word count, then you have to write twice as much the next day, and the daily count goes up every day you don’t write. (2) Puke on the Page:  you must get the words on paper (or computer screen). If you don’t then you won’t accomplish what you set out to do. They don’t have to be good, they just have to exist.

Remember, once December arrives you can edit to your hearts content. Flesh out your characters. Set your scenes. Do whatever you need to polish your work (or complete it if you started a novel). November is the time for getting the words out. You have 11 more months to make it shine.

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Filed under Nanci Pattenden, Writing

Nearing the end of the first Detective Hodgins novella

Just finished typing up another chapter.  Have done two in the past couple of weeks.  Finally hit my original target of 20,000 words – 20,987. My new target is 100 pages. So far I’m at 86. I need to add a couple more chapters and break the current last one into two and draw it out more. I guess I need somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3,000 more words to finish version 3 of the novella. My chapters are not long – most 1000 – 1200 words, so a few chapters will do it. Over 100 pages is fine though. Then it’s off to Melissa for her editing service. Not sure if I’ll need another edit from someone specific to my genre – might not have time to find someone anyway. Mel is good though. 🙂

I need to get this done very soon so it will be ready for printing and e-version by early to mid October so I can have copies for Bookapalooza in November. I booked 1/2 table (Melissa has the other half) so I’d better have something other than advertising to put on it. 🙂


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Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing