I was blathering about last year’s NaNoWriMo strategy over at ***Dave’s writing site, Doing Write, and realized I always need more blog posts…

I’ve done four NaNoWriMo-style novels (30 days, 50K words).  The drafting, while a bitch, is the easy part for me; I need to learn how to rewrite efficiently, which has been quite the task.  So this year, I’m not drafting a novel, I’m doing a crash rewrite of Alien Blue.  (I’ll report on what I learned as I go along.)

But, with four years of NaNo experience, I do have some personal tips for people writing a first draft:

Write in chapters.  Do a chapter a day, and you’ll find yourself writing more words to make sure you finish a definable chunk.

Whether or not you do a larger outline, outline your daily work right before you write it.  Today, I want to get X from Las Vegas to California, in four easy stages:

  1. X leaves Las Vegas with a million yen and a body in the trunk.
  2. X is pulled over by the cops.
  3. X talks her way out of the situation without using bullets or sex.
  4. X gets a flat tire but doesn’t dare pull out the spare when a nice-seeming couple in a Winnebago pull over to help her.

Because you’re not necessarily going for word count, you need something to let you know when you’re done for the day.  Although the outline points don’t happen at regular intervals.

I particularly like outlining in four parts:

  1. Opening/setup.
  2. Complication.
  3. Further complication (i.e., twist).
  4. Resolution and hook.


  1. Opening/setup.
  2. Complication.
  3. Resolution.
  4. Further complication (i.e., cliffhanger).

Personally, I find writing to the end of a chapter and leaving a cliffhanger a BIG motivator for starting the next chapter.  Boring work meetings = WHAT NEXT!?!

Let me know if you have rewriting tips. I could use them.