NaNoWriMo 2017: Why Picking a Genre Will Help You Write Your Novel

Posted Mon, 11/13/2017 - 8:00am by  |  Category:

Notebook and penWelcome to the second full week of November! I hope you’re feeling like you’re making great progress on your draft and that planning your daily writing and specific word counts is giving you direction.

You’re also probably feeling a little bit stuck. At about this time both Novembers I completed NaNoWriMo, I felt like I had spent all of the amazing ideas I had when I started. I dreaded inventing more ideas with my remaining 30,000 words.

If you’re feeling that way, I have some advice for how to get the ideas flowing.

Pick a genre

Think about what you’ve written so far. Do you feel like you’re writing in a specific genre? If not, pick one now and write your story in that genre.

Not sure what genre to pick? Think about the stories you like reading and watching. Which excite you? What genre do you obsess over, devouring every story you can find? Pick that one.

You don’t need to rewrite what you’ve already written. Just charge ahead. From here on out, make your novel work within that genre.

This might mean your story will read oddly, but remember, you don’t have to show anyone your NaNoWriMo manuscript. The goal is to write 50,000 words. So go for broke and write your story in a genre that you know and love.

Think of obligatory scenes

At an even deeper level, you can draw inspiration for your daily writing from your favorite genre by thinking about how your novel could incorporate the obligatory scenes of your chosen genre.

The obligatory scenes are the scenes in every story of your genre that you watch and read for, like the lover’s kiss scene in any love story or the big battle scene in a war story. You’ve seen or read a thousand of those, right?

The good stories all have their unique take on that moment that makes the story classic and memorable.

In your next writing session, write your take on an obligatory scene inspired by one of your favorites. Do this no matter where you are in the novel. It’s a fun exercise that’ll rejuvenate your writing.

If you don’t like the obligatory scene you write, remember that you can always try another one tomorrow.

And if you’re feeling behind in your writing, remember: Use the tools to make a daily writing plan from this post and simply apply the numbers for the amount of days and words you have left. Soon you’ll be back on track!

Talk to you next week. Keep writing.

Jay PetersJay Peters is a Seattle-based writer and editor who offers manuscript editing and developmental editing at He’s happy to chat with you about your NaNoWriMo story — just email him through his website. In his spare time, he likes to run through the city and read in the most comfortable chair he can find.