• For Writers

    You’re Not Losing NaNoWriMo

    When it comes to NaNoWriMo this year, that month-long contest to write like your fingers are on fire and reach fifty thousand words in a single calendar page, I know two things to be true:

    1. I will probably not make it to 50k this month.

    2. And that is absolutely okay.

    This has been a pretty intense month for me. My Comparative Literature class deluges us with more work in a week than my other classes combined, meaning I am spending four to five hours a day reading articles, watching videos, plowing through novels, creating presentations, writing essays — all on the trauma of slavery or the neurological ramifications of sexual assault or the Israel-Palestine conflict, all extremely heavy coursework that usually leaves me, to put it politely, utterly mentally and emotionally deflated.

    Plus, it was the midterms this month, and Florida’s results ended up so razor-thin, we seem to be headed towards three separate recounts. I’ve signed up to volunteer with overseeing the recount — though I’m still waiting to hear back, that could take up several days & nights of my life this week.

    Then, there’s the matter of my grandfather. He was hospitalized almost two months ago for congestive heart failure, and received a stent that cleared out the congestion in his arteries. Well, it looks like the stent is collapsing, and he might need surgery to fix it. We live about three hours away, and every week or two my mom and I are in the car, driving up to visit him and help out my grandma. This alone has been sucking up a lot of emotional energy. When it comes to sitting down to write, I keep finding myself too mentally exhausted to focus.

    Not that I’m making excuses!!

    Because, honestly, it’s okayIt’s okay if you don’t hit 50k in the month of November. NaNoWriMo is about putting down words, yes, but it’s also about establishing a daily writing habit. It’s about getting yourself in the headspace where you believe it is possible you can write a novel. It is possible you can establish a routine where you put down words every day. 

    So, if you don’t hit 50,000 words in a single month, if you’ve fallen behind (or never caught up to begin with!) don’t fret! Here are other ways you can win NaNoWriMo figuratively, even if it’s just in your heart:

  • For Writers

    How to Add Layers to Your Dialogue

    How do you flesh out dialogue??

    When I’m freewriting, I tend to write way more dialogue than action. My first drafts often read like screenplays. Sometimes, I won’t even put tags that explain who is talking, and I’ll have to scroll back through the scene weeks later desperately trying to remember who was who. 

    Take this chunk of dialogue:

    “I said no one was supposed to go in there.”

    “I thought you meant, you know, other people. I didn’t think you meant me.”

    “I always mean you. I don’t care what other people do. I care—”

    “About me?”

    “Just — don’t do it again, okay? It’s dangerous.”

    “Duly noted.”

    It’s not bad, is it? But we have no idea who is speaking, where they are, or what’s going on. So let’s see if we can beef it up a little bit…