NaNoWriMo – Ready or Not? #MondayBlog

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Twenty-two days and counting until NaNoWriMo begins. Are you anywhere near ready?

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. The problem is participants try to write 50,000 perfect words.

Not going to happen.

You have all the time in the world AFTER November 30th to pull out the dictionary and the thesaurus, edit, and clean up your story.  That’s the “work” part of creating your book. NaNoWriMo is about the fun part – writing it!

But regardless of whether you’re a plotter – with every detail meticulously calculated; or a pantser – you have a guy, a girl, and a dream; you need to have plan…a written plan. As a diehard pantser, I learned in 2014 that even if you write fairly well by the seat-of-your-pants, you STILL need to prep. You can have the story line totally completed in your head, and still fall short. Getting hung up on ONE plot point can slow you down, or…lead you to quit.

Planning ahead for NaNoWriMo last year not only helped me to win the thirty-day challenge, but also to write freely, no writer’s block anywhere in sight. My stories are character-driven, so after I had a talk with the voices in my head and completed an outline and scene list, on November 1st, I just let them go!

Prepping can look like different things to different writers. Some have multi-colored spreadsheets, using a special color for each character, along with color coordinated Post-it Notes and Sharpies.

I’m not on that team.

However, as a Scrivener user, I do color code my scenes simply because, like many writers, I do not write chronologically. Color coding helps ME to maintain order in my writing. In theory, anyway.

But preparing to write your story can be as basic as having;

  • A logline –  a single sentence (sometimes two) that answers the basic question “what is your story about?”,
  • A Tagline – a catchphrase that sums up the theme of your story, and makes it memorable. To boldly go where no man has gone before is permanently etched in all of our minds, thanks to Star Trek.,
  • An outline or chapter outline – basic plot points of your story. These are the things that MUST happen in order for your story to progress and reach its resolution.

Your outline can be as detailed as you like, but trust me – the more details you include, the easier your writing will flow. It will not be the ‘big’ things that stump you because you’ve already thought about those and done your research. But what about the ‘little things? Did you describe lead characters? Are they employed? What is their occupation? If you mentioned their occupation, is the job description correct? Are there gaps in your timeline? Do all your characters have a name? Is your story setting real or fictitious? Unless you’re writing paranormal or fantasy where you get to do the world building, not knowing the details beforehand can…and will induce mini anxiety attacks that will morph into full-blown hysteria.

You don’t need the stress. NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun, so get your details down on paper…now.

You have twenty-two days.

 

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16 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – Ready or Not? #MondayBlog

  1. I’m a total pantser, too and my first NaNo challenge last year went good for being my first, I wrote a little over 50k words – but the problem is that the book still sits incomplete on my hard drive, as it will probably end up being closer to 100k words when it’s done.

    To me, that was not a NaNo success, since the book was not finished, yet it was 50k words I may never have gotten onto paper without the challenge. So, you’re absolutely right, NaNo should be fun and not stressful. Every word written is a great accomplishment.

    Also, I didn’t have any writers block because of the same advice you’ve given here. Outline with as much details as possible and worry about the editing later. It really is a time saver! 🙂

    Great post & Good Luck with your NaNo project – not sure if I can participate this year due to other deadlines. 😦

    • My 2014 project still sits on my hard drive – 41,000 words just glaring at me! LOL! I do plan to finish it, but the problem with THAT story is every time I go near it, SIX supporting characters start yammering about THEIR stories, and I SO do NOT want to do a series! LOL! We’ll see.

      This year’s project is prepped, but the weird part? Not sure if it’s a comedy or a drama yet! LMAO!

      Thanks for stopping by, AC! ❤

      • LOL, that seems to happen with all of my books – which is probably why I only write series! Glad I’m not the only one 😀

        I have an idea, characters and general outline, but like I said, not sure of my other deadlines will give me the time for NaNo this time around. It’s such a fun experience I’d hate to miss out on it.

        LOL, I actually get that. Would you believe my Hell on Earth series started as a dark comedy? It’s true! 😉

      • I’m not sure since some of my NaNo time will be spent drafting a few scenes for my “live” Isabella & Peter storyline. And posting exerpts is time consuming…spending time “reviewing” for posting when I could be drafting…I’m not too keen on it for now.

    • As long as you keep it fun…it’s a blast!

      If you sign up, make sure to find buddies to add. It makes for a great support network, and you have a new friend after NaNoWriMo ends! 😉

  2. I used to be a planner, but I started pantsing my way through my current project which stands at 40k now (but looks like it’ll shape up to be 80k words in total). I started it 39 days ago (not writing each day) and this is the fastest I’ve written in a short amount of time. I love the freedom of writing whatever comes into my head while I write – the surprises keep me on the edge of my toes and I feel like I’m a reader too, if that makes sense. 🙂

    Good luck with Nano. I’ll be participating this year as well! 🙂

    • I totally get that! At the end of everyday, I was amazed at my content. Not what I had in mind, but my characters run the show! 😄

      Feel free to add me as a buddy – Feleeza! 😉

  3. Well, your preparation for the NaNo sounds a lot like mine 😉
    You know? I’m discovering that I’m a panster before I write the story and a plotter after I’ve written it, if this make any sense.
    I’ve been working to the same project during NaNo for six years. Thsi year, I have a completly new project (almost) ready to go. It’s kind of scary, but It’s also exciting.
    I just wish I had more prepared than I have…

    What’s your name on NaNo? May I buddy you? 🙂

    • Remember, preparing can look like a lot of things. Finally understanding that made the difference for me between NaNo 2014 and 2015. As long as you have the BIG POINTS written down, let the story flow – do not try to get it right during NaNo – that’s what editing is for. Let’s have some fun with this! My user name there is Feleeza – and of course you may add me!

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