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NaNoWriMo !!. Or: How to survive this crazy thing my Creative Writing Teacher’s making me do in November. Procedures. Bring your computer EVERY DAY . You will be able to type as you go.

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How to survive this crazy thing my Creative Writing Teacher’s making me do in November

  • Bring your computer EVERY DAY. You will be able to type as you go.
  • You do NOT need to handwrite a rough draft, though you will sometimes probably write something in a notebook somewhere on a bus or something and need to type it in class.
procedures continued
Procedures, continued
  • Every Wednesday, you will print out what you typed/wrote THAT DAY (don’t print the whole thing) and turn it in to me with your total word count written at the top.
  • EVERY DAY, you will end the hour by signing out on a sheet with you name and current word count.
  • Your goal is 30,000 words of rough draft.
  • If your word count falls between 26,100 and 27,900, a B is the highest grade you can receive on this assignment.
  • 24,000-26,100 can only receive a C or lower.
  • 21,900-24,000 can receive a D or lower.
  • Below 21,900 will receive credit, but not a passing grade.
grading continued
Grading, continued
  • Other things that will lower your grade:
    • Repeating the same sentence multiple times or cutting and pasting a paragraph more than once
    • Writing things like “very, very, very fast” or “going slow, slow, slow through the deep, deep blue ocean on the big, enormous, massive, hulking, huge ship,” or other egregious attempts to fluff the word count.
one last thing about grading
One last thing about grading
  • If you plagiarize, you will receive a zero.
  • You will not be able to pass the quarter with a zero on this assignment.
how to triumph
How To Triumph!
  • Remember that even with having all day to write in class, you WILL need to write outside of class as well.
  • Remember the words “This is a rough draft.” Repeat those words often. You are NOT aiming for perfection here. Your goal is to get the words on the page. You can’t edit a blank page!

Be prepared for work each day. Bring your stuff and be mentally ready to go. You won’t work as efficiently if you have to spend the first 20 minutes of every day talking yourself into starting.

  • Make a point to remember where you left off each day so if you have free time, you can write more, even without a computer.
  • Bring a notebook or notepad with you everywhere (or most places) in case a great idea suddenly comes to you, or you suddenly have unexpected time to work. That way, all odds and ends of writing will be in the SAME notebook regardless of where you wrote it.

The idea that you must write linearly—starting at the beginning and going through smoothly to the end—is a terrible lie. There is no law that states that you must write everything in order!

  • Think of the whole novel as a series of moments. If it helps you keep going, jump ahead to the next big moment, then go back later to write the transitional material joining the moments together.

Remember to include lots of description and dialog. Don’t just skim over big moments. Breezing through stuff is okay during transitions, but big moments require detail. Lots of it.

about writer s block
About Writer’s Block
  • Moments of difficulty happen to every writer—when you’re not sure where to take the story next, can’t decide on a character name, or don’t know how to get where you want the character to go. Here’s how to get through that.
  • Don’t panic! Your problem may be a minor and easily fixable one, like getting a little more sleep that night or eating breakfast. Sometimes when the body is off, the mind doesn’t work so well, either.

2. Try skipping the part that’s giving you trouble and coming back to it later. Jump to the next time you know what you want to happen and write that instead.

3. Come up for air. Look up from the computer or paper, take a few deep breaths, or stand up and stretch. (Special note: You may NOT take this opportunity to talk to your neighbors, fluff someone’s hair, run laps around the room, break into song, etc.)


4. At an appropriate time, ask someone familiar with your story for advice.

5. Appeal to the character. Think about what kind of person this character is. What would he or she really do in this situation?

6. On your own time, flip through magazine photos or the news headlines and see if anything spurs a thought or movement in a new direction.


7. The most important thing to know about defeating writer’s block is to keep writing through it—even if what you’re writing is total garbage and you know you’ll probably wind up going back and deleting much of it, just keep writing something.

Just like a slumping batter needs to keep swinging the bat in order to get out of his slump, as a writer, you need to keep writing in order to get out of the slump.

  • When this is all done, you will arise victorious and achieve triumph over this big, but totally defeatable, challenge.
  • Remember: I wouldn’t ask you to do it if I didn’t think you could!
  • If you hit 50,000 words (of real, original material, not the same words over and over or the lyrics to your favorite songs thrown in for fun) you will get:
    • An automatic A on this giant assignment that will be a huge part of your 2nd quarter grade
    • 10 extra points on your semester test
    • Other neato mystery prizes that I promise are, in fact, cool to persons other than me.