Week 4 Pep Talk

By Natasha R.

Greetings Wrimos. We’re officially in week four! We’ve made it to the wire! The struggle hasn’t been easy. By week four you may be staring at the screen, blinking in slow repetition, willing you fingers to move, and finding nothing pours onto the keyboard.

The frustration has grown, and several diabolical things come to mind.

In fact, there have probably been days when you wanted to print your manuscript just to burn it.  (For the record, don’t burn anyone else’s manuscript. It’s rude.)





Think about this though. You’ve made it to WEEK FOUR! WEEK BLOODY FREAKIN’ FOUR!

You’re in the home stretch! That in and of itself should be enough to motivate you to keep writing, but it doesn’t always work out like that. That’s what these PEP TALKS are for!

So, here are some things to do to bring the zest back into your manuscript!

  • Do something unexpected!
    • What do I  mean by that? Well, maybe you’re a plotter and things aren’t going as expected. Maybe you’re a pantser and you’ve written your characters into a corner. If things aren’t going the way you want, that’s okay. Sometimes the characters take on a life of their own and decide to run the show. Let them misbehave! See what happens! Worse case scenario you hit the backspace key in December.
  • Be cruel to your characters!
    • Yeah, it’s hard. We grow attached to our characters. We don’t want them to suffer, but without some sort of conflict, there’s no story. Have the love interest do something heart breaking, or the villain nab someone the protagonist loves. Throwing in some sort of strong conflict will not only drive your plot forward, but you may find some emotional responses from your characters that you weren’t expecting. Besides, we all know that being cruel is a bit of payback for how much those characters drive us insane.
  • Muse with a critique partner!
    • Sometimes, when we keep the stories to ourselves, we lose the lust for it. Talking to your CP’s will help with this, as their excitement is going to drive your excitement, and you’re just going to want to get it written. I’ve completed two manuscripts. One from NaNo last year, and another one I wrote in a little over a month–neither of which would have been completed without awesome writing buddies who kept me motivated. Don’t be afraid to gush about your writing. It’s not stupid. It’s not awful. Get that support group!
  • Don’t worry About editing
    • All too often people go back and edit, trying to polish each word to perfection. DON’T! Just keep writing. Move the plot forward. Ernest Hemingway, in his intoxicated wisdom said something wonderful.
      • “Any first draft is crap.” It’s true. Don’t expect your first draft to be a polished manuscript of awesome. It just doesn’t happen. That is what editing is for. That can be done AFTER Wrimo. If you don’t finish a novel first, you won’t have anything to edit. Editing, however, is where the magic happens.
  • Add a wacky character
    • Every story needs some comic relief! It can be dark comedy, light comedy, whatever, but it’s always fun to have that quirky character. Make them Peppy, the peg-legged pirate in modern times, or Libby Morden, a Lizzie Borden enthusiast that everyone worries might kill her family one day. Something silly and funny. There are plenty of quirky people in the world. Don’t be afraid to add them into your story.
    • It’s week four! Even if you’re behind on word count, keep writing. If at the end of the month you’ve written every day, but still haven’t reached 50k, that’s all right. Because you KEPT WRITING. Not everyone is a speed writer. NaNoWriMo is more than just reaching 50k. It’s getting those words down, creating a story, and persevering through it. Even when WriMo is over. KEEP WRITING. Don’t be discouraged. 50k is just a number. The point is to…have you figured it out yet? That’s right!


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