It's only Day Five, but already I'm wondering if I picked the right project for this year. I didn't do enough research. My character development is shockingly gaunt, and I'm wondering how I'll get beyond the first act.
But I've been here before. See my post from a little later last year. This week two slump (distressingly early this year) is something that's dogged me since my first Nano try seven years ago. I didn't succeed that first year, but I've made it through every other year. I'm telling you this so you'll have some tools to make it through, too. Here, then, are ten tips to making it to Week Three and beyond.
10. Chocolate. Of course, keep the chocolate close by so you don't have to get up from your computer to get it. Keep your butt in the chair and write until you've got your daily word count in.
9. Can't forward the plot. Go to the end of a document and do a little character development or think of something awful you can do to your protagonist to raise the stakes.
8. Take your character on a walk. Have her meet someone interesting who can introduce some new plot element. You might take yourself on a walk, too. Or meet writing friends for a writing date.
7. Feed your character. Admit it, all your chocolate is gone. There's nothing for you to eat within arm's reach, set your character down for a meal--let the conversation advance your plot.
6. Put your character to bed. Let him dream something that enhances the theme without giving anything away, plant seeds for later.
5. Plant image seeds for later. Is there something that's important to understanding your book's theme, what picture brings it up for you. Throw a little visual or aural image in that will resonate later on. Not sure what that image is since your a pantser, write an image that feels compelling to your character. Don't be surprised when it comes back later.
4. What's the threshold, where does the character move from the known into the unknown in your novel. Has she already moved beyond it. If not, now's the time!
3. Is there a villain or an annoyance you can throw at your character? If it's a mystery, is there a red herring you can introduce?
2. Does your character know what she really wants? If you think so, give her something else to desire and let her feell torn between the two things.
1. Don't give up. Sit in the chair. Remember, "The first draft of anything is shit" --E. Hemingway. So let your 2nd week (even if it starts too early, ugh) pile up loads of dung-like words into your document. Let go the image of successful writers who write brilliant first drafts. They don't exist in reality. Let your first draft be a beautiful mess, but let your first draft be.
0. Find a Write In and go write. (Put earphones in if it's a talkative one and revel in the fact that you're the dedicated one writing and not chatting.) Don't leave until you've done 1667 words.