I’m running a little behind schedule on my Nano word count. How far Behind? According to the calculator I’ll finish my novel on December 28th. So when I bumped into an article by Rachel Aaron, How I Went From Writing 2000 W0rds a Day to 10,000 Words a Day, I was interested. According to Aaron, making one simple change immediately doubled her word count. Doubling my daily word count is just about what I need to win Nano.
So I’ve decided to do a simple experiment: I will try Aaron’s simple change for the next two weeks and let you know how it went in a post here at the blog on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re madly trying to finish a novel this month, you can join my experiment. The more people participating, the better the results.
Here’s all you have to do:
When you sit down to write, before you open the laptop, list the all the things you know about the scene. Just jot some quick notes that include elements you need to get covered and details of the action. If you’re an intricate plotter this may not help you. I can write pages of intricate plot details, but when I finish that I’ve lost my enthusiasm for writing the book. I’ve learned to use a modified pantster style of sketching out basic turning points and complications in a couple of pages, leaving the story to reveal itself as I write. But it’s hard and slow going trying to mentally track all the plot elements while telling the story. I think this switch to prewrite plotting could be a reasonable solution. I’m including links here for the simple little scene and sequel guidelines I’ll be using for my prewrite.
Scene Sequel Sheet (For those not familiar with that term, this is where character decides on a new course of action after climax of the scene)
I put these worksheets together from notes I made from classes with Louise Boggess and the writings of Dwight Swain and Robert Olen Butler. You don’t have to fill in every detail listed on the sheet. Think of the elements as prompts to get your imagination going. You could make your own worksheets with prompts that work for your story. When I gave this a trial run this morning it did help me mentally make the switch from staring at the blank screen to seeing the elements of the story take shape like a movie playing in my mind. Once that shift happened, I was able to slip right into typing the scene. The picture above is a look at the worksheet I filled in before this morning’s write. Using colored pens makes the process more fun.
According to the Nano dashboard, 861 is my average daily word count. I haven’t added today’s word count to the site, so that is the baseline before the experiment began. I’ve done two scenes today and written a total of 2,833 words. That’s great! But the real test of a technique is how well it works over a longer length of time and how well it works for a diverse group of writers. So, give it a try and drop by in two weeks for my experiment results, then leave me a comment to let me know how it went for you.