Thanks Jeff for this inspiring piece.
Bert Rinkel

This is exactly why I wonder if NaNo is more discouraging than encouraging for some people! I know the organization does try to support participants’ efforts with guidance and general writing info, but it does seem to perpetuate the myth that the only thing standing between you and a novel is taking the time to buckle down and put pen to paper. That IS important! And it IS what you have to do to bang out the priceless, underdiscussed, and underrated Shitty First Draft.

But to make a story that works — especially for those of us with no background in creative writing or fiction specifically — it requires a long-term commitment to learning about the craft, about plot, about dialogue, about things like connecting with your characters, understanding what motivates them, and letting that drive the action instead of just moving them around a board like action figures. Maybe use NaNo as a springboard to dive into that aspect of writing even after November has drawn to a close.

One resource I like is K.M. Weiland’s writing blog. I can recommend a couple basic books I read when I was first getting started on my novel that really helped me understand how to approach the process, rather than just sitting down and expecting the words to flow (when I get home — I’d have to pull them off the shelf and double check their titles)

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.