During the recent series of Red Pen Launch webinars, I was blessed with the support of romantic novelist and veteran RedPenner, Patsy Collins.
With NaNoWriMo less than a week from now, I’ve invited Patsy to tell us her plans for November.
So, Patsy, NaNoWriMo 2015.
Will you be taking part?
I’ve not completed NaNo during the last couple of years, and previously I’ve ‘cheated’ at NaNo and used it to write 50,000 words of short story drafts.
In a way, I’m cheating this year too, as I’ve already written some scenes. I’ll only count the new words though, so I’m only cheating a little bit! But, yes! My next novel is planned out and I’m ready to get the first draft done, so I’ve signed up.
Even at this stage, I’m not at all sure I’ll manage 50,000 words and be able to call myself a winner. Some of what I write will get deleted, all the rest will need a lot of work – but that doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I’ll use the experience to move my story forward.
Would you recommend others to sign up for NANO?
I think it’s a good idea for any would-be novelist to try NaNo and decide if it works for them. Maybe you’ll want to adapt NaNo to suit your needs, just using the support and feeling of shared creative energy to boost your productivity. You also learn useful techniques.
Lots of things are worth trying if only to rule them out: Scrivener and Red Pen included. If people are perfectly happy with what they’re doing, then they should continue. If they think they need help to organise their work, or with editing, then try Scrivener and Red Pen.
I’m glad you asked me that! My new novel (a romantic comedy with a hot fireman and a few flames) comes out at the start of November. You can read the opening few pages of Firestarter here and buy it here.
I nearly said I didn’t use NaNo for Firestarter, but that wouldn’t be quite true. Very few words were written during last November and no mention was made of it on the NaNo site, but I did use techniques I’d learned from doing NaNo in the past.
What kinds of techniques did you learn through NANO?
Lots of things: planning, switching off my ‘inner editor’, not making changes until the first draft is done, not worrying that I might be repeating myself or writing sections which might get cut. I know from experience, all that can be sorted out later. If we cut unwanted scenes as we go, it feels as though we’re going backward half the time. If we wait until we have more words than required for the finished version, it feels more like progress to delete those which don’t work. Leaving editing until the first draft is done also avoids polishing a scene which then needs to be changed.
Are you using Scrivener for your novel writing?
Scrivener isn’t for me. After completing four novels, I’ve developed a system for planning my novels which work for me. If you’re happy with however you plan your novel, then I’d stick with it. If you aren’t happy with your planning setup or don’t have one, then it might be worth taking a look – and I’m sure Anne’s blog will guide you through making the most of it.
And what about Red Pen? Where does that fit in for you?
I use Red Pen all the time. I would urge your readers to sign up for the free newsletters. The ‘tasks’ on each one will be extremely useful when it comes to working on their NaNo novels. They were for me, as I moved Firestarter on from messy first draft to a novel ready for feedback.
So, thank you, Patsy Collins. I’m looking forward to NaNoWriMo, especially now my (nag) buddy is signed up too.
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