I’ve nearly reached the end of The Dragonslayers, and I’m less than halfway to the fifty thousand word goal. But fret not! My cunning strategy is to use the first two weeks to create writing that exists between an outline and a rough draft. I’m using a technique called the “phase system.” If it works, I’ll wind up with three or four times my current text in the final word count and a more cohesive novel than your average NaNo.

When I read about the system (which I’ll have to plug when I find the link again) I was intrigued. It seemed like just the sort of thing that would work for me — it involves intense writing and brainstorming sessions to create the framework of the story, to an extent that you’ve nearly written the novel. You revise the characters, the setting, and the order of events during this step, and divide the novel up into bite-size “phases” of fifty words or so.

Once you’ve got your novel broken up into these phases, you write the whole thing (moving at your own pace, of course) based on the phases you’ve written, which are snippets of dialogue, flavor text, character descriptions, and so on, taking the time to expand on the original writing. The author who used it said she was able to get three or four times as much text out of each fifty-word phase. It’s kind of writing the same novel twice, with the goal of making it longer the second time.