NaNoWriMo Advice – Don’t Delete Anything

YankeeGirl asked a good question in the comments here yesterday regarding NaNoWriMo:

So I just decided that I want to change about half of what I already wrote. Do I go back and change it now and then finish writing what I want to write, or leave it the way it is, write the rest of the story like I actually had changed it and change it next month?

Luckily for me, I had just read a blog post by NaNoWriMo’s founder Chris Baty, in which he talks about this very thing:

7) And please remember: If you write a paragraph or chapter you don’t like, just put it in italics (or change the font color to white). Do not delete! After you write your way across the 50,000-word finish line, you can double back and clip out all the parts of your book that make you cringe (I think you’ll surprise yourself with what you decide to keep). For now, just keep moving forward! There’s an old folk saying that goes: Whenever you delete a sentence in your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground.

Good advice, huh? Why lose out on your word count, just because something isn’t worded properly. Why not get the idea down, flag it for edit later, and move on. I suggest using the change in color rather than italics because italics could be valid in your story, such as thoughts of a character. Another thing you could do is use the “notes” feature in your word processing program (word or open office writer both have implementations of this feature).

As far as my progress, I’m at about 5,800 words after three days. Two hundred less than my goal, but ahead of the pace. I’ve already encountered one case of the blahs and have worked through it. Whew!

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6 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Advice – Don’t Delete Anything

  1. I’m so glad to told me not to delete, because only a day later I am rethinking how much I really may want to change. I think I need to stop thinking so much.

    Yesterday I had a horrible case of the blahs and didn’t write a single word. I am paying for it today and trying like hell to make up for yesterdays lack of motivation. Lucky for me the boss is out of the office today and I can get a lot of writing done on the clock.

  2. I’m liking the every word counts, word count approach.
    I’m at 5,800 but that is my word count including today, the 4th. So far I like writing 1,000 a day, it’s enough to push me forward but not so much as to stress me out, but I know at this rate I won’t “finish” NaNo, but still I am feeling good about it. Good luck. Glad you are enjoying it. πŸ™‚

  3. “Whenever you delete a sentence in your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. ” – I love this! πŸ™‚

    Good luck, Paul, and have fun!

  4. Excellent writing progress!!! And I totally agree. I put things in italics or highlight, plus in Scrivener I can make random notes about things I want to change in this little box on the side. But I also will stick notes in the text in brackets and all caps. My crit partners find things like
    [THIS SOUNDS STUPID. FIX IT]

    or

    [THEY PAY FOR LUNCH. LEAVE. STUFF HAPPENS.]

    then a new scene. I try not to let myself get stuck or worry too much about the crap I put on the page. It’ll all get fixed later. Hopefully.

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