This was an email I received recently. I totally respect Jeff (Scott) Savage and his opinions. He takes his time to talk to newbie writers and give them ideas and help. (I added a link to Jeff's recent post at the end of this post).
I thought I would pass along what this emailer (Tobyn) wrote:
Hey Nano team,
I went to Dragon's keep tonight and Scott Savage was there. What a cool guy. He was very personable and has a great attitude about the art of writing. He talked about where he came from and how he got rejected, and how he got his first contract, how he got rejected again even with an agent.
Hearing his story was inspirational. I asked him how to make nanowrimo work in a good way so that we are not churning out just mediocre gunk. His answer was excellent but very long, so I have shortened it for you. He said he doesn't like to outline each chapter. He likes to know where he begins and where he ends. He likes to have a good protagonist who is a hero with flaws or an underdog working his way up. And he likes to know the obstacles that have to be overcome. Now I'm not quoting him, I'm just telling you what I took away from it.
I'm glad I made it down there. It was well worth it.
Now back to work. I'm only just over 10,000 but don't count me out. I'm still working on it.
"...it's easy after all not to be a writer. Most people aren't writers and very little harm comes to them."
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot