The Prep for NaNoWriMo

I have returned. Back from the fiery depths of a place called School and an equally fiery place called Work.

October is passing with a flash thanks to the mounds of papers and studying as well as those lovely 6am work shifts that leave me too exhausted to do anything afterwards but sleep.

While it seems that I've disappeared off the face of the writing community, the truth is--I've been sooper sekretly just comes in spurts. Writing a bit on the computer here, writing a bit on the notebook there. Characters, plots, story lines have permanently wedged themselves into my skull so even when I'm not doing my sooper sekret writing, I can't stop thinking about all my characters.

In all reality, I've been prepping for NaNoWriMo, which for those of you who haven't heard of this strange word, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Long story short: 30 days to write 50,000 words. Sound easy? Think again. That's almost 1700 words a day to form ideas into sentences. I failed it last year, coming up at only 30k words with some flipping between which story to write.

This year, I'm prepared.

How am I preparing, you ask? Oh, let me tell you.

Step One: Think up a story
Preferably something that will be longer than 50k words...
Or in my case, decide which of the seemingly billions of ideas I want to pursue. But that's all they are: ideas. Nothing concrete, just brief snippets of story that I want to turn into full-length epic novels. It's tough. I have a lot of promising ideas, I think, and I'd like to create the plot for them someday, but for the sake of my sanity, I'm deciding now, before November, which story I am putting all of my effort towards. But to decide that, I needed to go into step two, and that is...

Step Two: Plot, Detail, Outline
Some people dig outlines, others don't. For me, It's not so much a detailed outline as a poster board with a bunch of thoughts jotted down and circled in a bubble. Sometimes there is a timeline of events, sometimes I have arrows from one bubbled thought pointing to another to show that they are linked in some way. Sometimes I just want to bang my head against the closest hard surface, but in no way does that help my progression. The most I hope to achieve in the second step is a general plot.
"This story is about a boy who does [this]. He and [this person] are bitter enemies but they must team up to stop [this] from happening. Along the way, he meets [a person] and [another person] who help him on his journey."
Something like this, but more awesome.

Step Three: o hai characters.
For me, sometimes this step and step two get switched around. I tend to think up characters and then revolve stories around them, but sometimes the story writes them. With the case of my NaNoWriMo WIP, it was the characters first, story second. But every so often, it's story first, characters second.
With every story, I like to have well-rounded characters. It's hard for me to write them as bland and then go back once I'm finished to tidy them up, so I like to have them as 3D as I can make them. Considering there are only 30 days to write a full urban fantasy novel, character development will help me move way faster.
Characters created--Check!
Characters named--Check!
Characters described--Check!
Hello MC boys. You're looking very makey-outey (props to those who know what that line is from)

Step Four: Determine the Point of View and tense
WHY WAS THIS STEP SO HARD?! For me personally, this step is STILL driving me insane as to how I want to actually write the story. As much as I ADORE first person PoV (both past and present), this book is screaming to be written in 3rd person because of the jumps between characters. And considering there are five characters with huge roles and three that are actual MCs, that would be very tricky. Still considering it, but not likely.
3rd person is safe for the plot, but no I have to decide whether to make it past or present. Present would be the safest for this story, but I'm feeling more and more comfortable with present tense.
For the time being, I've decided to do 3rd person present. Tenses worry me less when I have to go back and change them.

Step Five: Combine steps 1-4 in a large bowl...
Feeling comfortable with my decisions, I mix everything together to create a decently detailed plot with developed characters, those pesky plot twists, and an ending.

Again, this is me being overzealous. After not actually being ready for NaNo, I vowed to make this year better. This year...I WILL finish a book in a month.

Oh, I almost forgot Step Six: Buy munchies...lots of munchies
Because NaNoWriMo also means "lets gain 10 lbs from snackage and lack of sleep!"

So...Did I miss any steps?


Becca Rogers said...

I've missed you, btw!! :D

I don't do the outline thingy, but I DO list stuff kinda like you. This happens, then this, then this, etc.

I'm trying to finish up edits on a book right now and then I can get these thoughts out of my head for the NaNo book. I don't think I could handle editing/revising two books at once. :/


Leah said...

I miss you too! So busy it's hard to balance everything.

But definitely not on editing two books at once. Too much editing. Gotta have some fun tossed in there lol

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