And the list goes:
- Definitely accept ahead of time that come December 1 your novel will be terrible and you will have to spend a lot of time fixing it. Internalize this. Whatever other revision timelines you have had for other books, they do not apply here. You just spent 30 days writing around 1,600 words a day. It will be terrible. There will be places where you wrote [RETURN TO THIS SCENE AT A LATER DATE] or [SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENS FIGURE IT OUT AFTER CHRISTMAS]. That's okay.
- Write a pitch line. I think that a lot of people figure this out after everything else, when they're getting ready for querying or to pitch to their agent. But it's really useful to have this in writing when you set out - it demonstrates character, conflict, and plot.You can always return to it when you hit a snag. And if the scope of your book changes, the pitch line changes but in the flurry of November you have a base line.
- Following the pitch line, write a really terrible query. This is not for anyone else but you and maybe like, a friend who you will scream at about your book through out November. The query isn't selling anything to anyone. It's purpose is: is this really a story or a string of events only I care about? If it is not a story, how do I make it a story? Is there actually conflict? Is this character actually necessary? Does it make sense? It doesn't need to be shiny or pretty or catchy.
- Don't write a synopsis. Don't do it to yourself, don't inflict it on your friends, regret this choice later, in March, when someone makes you do it anyway.
- Finally: if you know you will not write fifty thousand words in thirty days that is completely alright. Set your expectations somewhere manageable. None of us will judge you. When you reach word count goal the rest of us will be envious. Don't burn yourself out trying to write a whole novel when you know that is not in your creative well.