OK, OK...you can't win 'em all.
I give up.
The novel I started for this year's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is dead in the water. Maybe I should have stuck with a mystery, like last year, when I won. (To the uninitiated, all you have to do to win NaNoWriMo is write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and 11:59 pm November 30 and have the word count verified on the NaNoWriMo website.)
Ain't gonna happen this year, barring one of those miracles where you get taken over by a mysterious writing spirit that dictates the book to you while you sleep. All you need to do is get up and write it down the next morning. (Muse, baby...we're 42,000 words behind, and it's 11/16!!)
Anyway, next year, I'll try to remember what I learned last year and this about writing a 50,000 word novel in a short time:
1) Have a lot of characters. Even if you write just a little bit about each one, it adds up.
2) Include at least one nun and one priest. Nuns live in convents and priests live in rectories. (BTW, isn't there something a bit off about calling a priest house a rectory or a priest a rector? Isn't that kind of what the former altar boys have been complaining about? That reminds me....At the bus stop the other night, I saw the guy with the Priests are Pedofiles, Thank You, Vatican signs. I tried to catch up with him, but he moves too fast. I wanted to tell him "The Pope is coming, watch your back!") Anyway, with collective living arrangements, the possibility for lots of characters is pretty much endless.
3) Writing a mystery gives you the option of killing off characters you a) don't like or b) like. Either way, you have a lot of 'splainin to do....more words!!
4) When you need a boost in your word count, go into the file and change all the contractions to two words.
5) Similarly, give each character two names. Jim becomes Jim Bob, etc.
6) No fair watching Project Runway till you're finished with your 50,000 words!! The reruns will be available for the next two or three years, so keep that TV OFF. What ever happened to Kara Saun, by the way? How is it possible that Heidi Klum keeps looking better and better every year, despite the three kids? And where oh where do they get those frumpy Big Women Behind the Scenes in Fashion?
6a) On the other hand, it's neat when they take the contestants to Nina Garcia's office. Going to your character's office is a great ploy...more words. You think I'm kidding? How often have we been to Kinsey Milhone's office? How else do you think Grafton has written almost a whole alphabet's worth of books?
7) Send your characters shopping...with long lists of things to buy.
8) Never, ever read any part of your novel to anyone before you've done all 50,000 words. Reactions to an unfinished novel are just as fatal as reactions to a bee sting or a drug overdose.