Nano, Halloween and that writing process

2014-12-13 11.18.35

And this is what happens if you do look back…

If there’s one lesson from Halloween, at least as portrayed in the movies, it’s that whatever bad is happening, it’s happening behind you. There’s even the Biblical take on this concept with Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt. Or in the Panto: ‘He/She/It is behind you’ is the classic refrain.

And if we turn round? If we check? If we turn on that light? If we look behind us? Well we stop everything. The story ends abruptly and the fun is over before it’s time. You kill the mood.

If any of you are about to undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge, or indeed if you are about to kick off writing your first novel (or you second or your third…) take this advice to heart.


There will be plenty of time for revision later. However fantastic your first draft (and it won’t be: it will be rubbish) you will need to edit it, murder those babies and change pretty much everything. So why slow the process of getting the basic form of what will eventually be your beautifully sculptured words hacked into a workable shape by starting to polish the left earlobe too soon?

Revision, reading yesterday’s output, a swift check on a character’s detail – these are all temptations but they are turning you slowly into writerly salt.


Good writing, people!

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in nano 2015, nanowrimo, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Nano, Halloween and that writing process

  1. Thanks for the advice Geoff. I will definitely stick to it after seeing what has happened to you!!!! 🙂


  2. Ula says:

    Great advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Solveig says:

    Now I just need to find my story… When I set my mind on wanting to write something then I automatically lack the good story. But when I don’t plan on writing and sit down anyways I can be amazed.
    Thanks for the advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ali Isaac says:

    That is one of the reasons why I cannot and will not do Nano… I edit as I go along. It works for me. But yes, it would be a drawback for nano.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Autism Mom says:

    Cheering you on! Go Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jan says:

    Good for you! Go for it!


  7. Sacha Black says:

    I’m genuinely shitting my pants this year! Guna be so hard! Good luck geoffle

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Encouraging words Geoff, I’ll do my best to murder my babies! Not doing Nano as such but am intending on writing lots in November. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. roweeee says:

    Great advice Geoff for all writing. More than once, that editing beast has turned my inspiration into a lump of salt.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. roweeee says:

    Reblogged this on beyondtheflow and commented:
    Although I’m not doing the NaNoWriMo Challenge, I’m passing on this excellent advice from my English mate, especially after he barracked for Australia against the Kiwis. He must have a fondness for the underdog.


  11. Charli Mills says:

    I love that part of NaNoWriMo. Alas, I’m in the thick of looking back, trying to find revision bliss.


  12. Elissaveta says:

    “Murder those babies”… What kind of advice is that? 😀
    You’re so right and to be honest, it’s both worrying and a relief as I’ve found myself changing so much of my first draft I am scared I’ve lost the plot (literally and figuratively!)
    Time to regroup my thoughts and you’ve inspired me to do so… so thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Guilty as charged. But I’m learning. Good to be reminded, though

    Liked by 1 person

  14. rogershipp says:

    Great advice…. that I follow too infrequently!

    Liked by 1 person

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