So, it’s late October and NaNoWriMo is once more looming on the horizon. If you’re unfamiliar with NaNo, it’s a challenge in which writers aim to pen 50,000 words in one month. You can connect with other writers, offer encouragement to your buddies, and receive tips and inspiration from the NaNo team. The event is meant to encourage people to just write write write, without worrying about editing or other concerns, so that at the end of the month you have a finished or nearly-finished project, Phase One of writing a novel!
I competed for the first time last year with a personal goal of 30k rather than the 50k. I succeeded, just, but there were a lot of things I realised, the main one being that I need to plan A LOT BETTER next time. Part of this was due to me trying to write a mystery book, so clues and groundwork needed to be laid carefully throughout the book, something that I found too difficult to ignore and add in later.
But partly, I think I learned that I am just the kind of writer that needs a plan. Maybe not a detailed ordnance survey map, but something a little more than basic directions to the end. This will help me stay on track, so that the words can keep flowing.
So this year, I’m doing the plotting thing. I bought a big sheet of card, and then wrote out scenes on post-it notes, different colours for different kinds of scenes. These weren’t every single one of my scenes, but the important ones, the ones that other bits will need to fit around. Then I began to arrange them, moving some around a bit, leaving gaps where there was obviously something missing, and so on, to see what the framework of my book looked like.
Another interesting thing that’s come out of this approach is that I can see certain themes running through the book, and I can more quickly solve certain problems by understanding where I’m going and which stages I need to hit to get there. The best solutions to problems are always the ones that tie in with events earlier, or key character motivations, or themes, and plotting like this helps me to keep track of these elements more easily.
|Ok, so I do need at least one ordnance survey map|
And final preparations? Coffee, tea, chocolate, snack foods, fingerless gloves for typing in, comfy cushions, and beating that video game before November hits...!
So, are any of you taking part in NaNo this year? What are you doing, if anything, to prepare? Do you have any tips for success?
Oh, and if you're taking part and would like to add me as a buddy, please do! I'm on there as Jictoria.
|Essential NaNo buddy|