Are you on the right track, or is your train/story gonna beat you up?


Camp NaNoWriMo has begun, and that means that all over the world, writers are furiously typing away at their computers, probably with demonic expressions and clasping half-empty coffee mugs in their hands (or should that be red, pointy tails?).

When NaNo starts, some people know exactly what they’re doing. These are the organised ones. But, unfortunately, they are few and scattered. This post, my friend, is not for you (although this Camp I am one – I have to be, scripts are hella harder than I thought). But you can read it anyway ’cause it will, no doubt, still apply. This post is for the Pantsers out there (gimme a holla in the back; yes, you with the pretty pink laptop).

First: are you a Pantser? If you’re writing this with no flippin’ clue where you’re going, then yeah, you’re a Pantser. Easy answer, eh?

Pantsers are great, they’re so free and easy. But what happens if you’ve started your book/new Odyssey/script/non-fiction/are editing, and realise, perhaps, that this isn’t quite for you?

  • Give up. This is the easiest one of them all, but it’ll haunt you for the rest of your life; you’ll constantly have nightmares of Thomas the Tank Engine beating you at a fist-fight. Guaranteed.
  • Start anew. This is also easy, but takes time and effort, especially if you’ve already got pretty far. Also, your old characters may haunt you like Thomas. Thomas doesn’t like to be abandoned; especially by Percy.

Ok, I’m going to stop comparing your NaNo story to Thomas the Tank Engine, ’cause, quite frankly, it’s freaking me out. On with the list…

  • Imagine the worst situation you could possibly get your characters into. Then do it. No doubt this’ll stir up something fun that’ll give you juice for the next 10 pages or so.
  • Imagine the best situation you could possible get your characters into, then change it to the worst. 
  • Alright, keep it at the best. I understand everyone isn’t as horrible as me. And good things can give you material, too. Don’t be afraid to be nice to your characters (just only do it occasionally, otherwise there’s no fun in being a writer).
  • Ask someone else for their opinion. I get it, I get it, you don’t wanna share your idea with anyone. So find someone you trust and try it! Maybe a teacher. Parent? Friend? Even the dog can give a good answer if you give them biscuits (bark for yes, eat for no…).
  • Just keep writing and see where you end up. This will probably get you into a spot of writers block, but it is very fun. Don’t be afraid not to try it. You might find something interesting.

If all else fails, make a list of things to do in your novel, pick a few and try them out. You could end up with 5 different stories with the same starting bit, but eh, that’s NaNo, right?

Good luck my fellow Wrimos. You’ll do great! 

Questions, comments, thoughts? Shoot! 😀 

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