November is “National Novel Writing Month”, better known for its acronym, NaNoWriMo. Thousands of seasoned and newbie novel writers will join this literary marathon with the same objective: to write a novel of at least 50,000 words from November 1 to November 30.
Lots of people who have joined NaNoWrimo during previous years have reported starting off on a writer’s high and then hitting writer’s block around the second week of the competition. If your plot runs out of steam on day ten of NaNoWriMo, here are some things you can do:
- Kill a main character.
- Hit shuffle on your iPod and the first song that comes up is the title of your next chapter.
- Your main character finds an old letter in a library book.
- Include an element of betrayal: someone is having an affair or has lied about their past.
- Flip through magazines or art books. Look through the newspaper. Cut out three items which you feel have potential to inspire an interesting scene.
- Go people watching: sit at an outdoor cafe; go to the mall; ride the subway or the bus. Collect five snatches of conversation.
- Write a list of words that are common to your genre and combine them in interesting ways to come up with titles for your chapters (dragon, castle, moat, knight). Once you have a title, create a plot twist based on that title.
- Think of your family’s stories which you’ve heard your relatives retelling over and over again.
- Think of an important, far-off goal your character is striving to reach and write about your character’s quest to achieve this objective.
- Your character loses someone or something that is very dear to them.
- Your character’s business is in trouble. Brainstorm ten possible ways to solve the problem. Choose the most unexpected approach to write about.
- Steal from the best. Think of a novel you love, take elements from the plot, and make them your own.
- Use social media for ideas (delicious, Stumbleupon, Twitter).
- Visit One Sentence or PostSecret; you’ll find lots of fodder for your creative process in these two sites.