Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today's Bad NaNoWriMo Advice: Autosummarize!

This is the worst advice EVER if your goal is productivity. But then, if your goal is productivity, I don't know why you're even talking to me. It's November 15 and I'm at 847 words. For those of you keeping score, that means I am 24,153 words behind schedule.

In Microsoft Word, there is a tool called "Autosummarize." This tool will take your novel and boil it down to the key ideas (assuming it has any -- which, it's a NaNo novel, so it's okay if there aren't any key ideas yet).

I think you should go try this tool on your in-progress NaNo novel.

Let me be clear: there is no earthly reason to use this tool on your in-progress NaNo novel. Unless of course you just need a study breaker. And maybe you don't, you with your 25,000 words and your pretty progress bar. But me? I need a study breaker. Or two. Or six.

My current NaNo is only at 847 words, so there's no point in summarizing it; it's plenty brief. Instead, I have asked Microsoft Word to autosummarize my most recently published middle grade novel, Body of Water.

Here is Body of Water in 100 words or less:

Ivy didn't like being called dingbat much. "Hey, Poison Ivy. Stop snotting on Dad. I turned to Mom. Anson was Anson. Mom tugged my shoulder. Ivy and Dad started drifting away. Mom asked, soft. Just Ivy. Even without my pockets, Ivy persisted. 1. Class rings Mom and Dad walked hand in hand, relaxed. Ivy giggled and Mom pasted on a cheerful smile. Mom twitched. What if Ivy has to go?" Hateful, just like Ivy. Ivy moaned. For Anson It started with my grandma, my mom's mom. Trees. 1. Class rings 1. Class rings

For the record, I think "Trees." is really what makes this summary special.

So what does your novel boil down to?

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