It’s that time of the year.
Bags of Candy Corn are ripped open, we’re all running on a sugar high and November is knocking down our door. It’s one of my favorite times of year!
Hockey Season!Okay, not this year, thank you NHL lock out. *grumble*
What is NaNoWriMo? It’s a yearly challenge delivered by the Office of Letters and Light to join the ranks of participants writing 50,000 words in one calendar month. November. There’s a website, forums and all kinds of activity on blogs, twitter and facebook. It’s grown into a huge event. If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, try it. NaNo is a completely special time of the year when the job I do year in and out becomes a social event I can share with hundreds of people in my region.
Last NaNo was a dismal failure for me. Between moving, doing book stuff and hosting Thanksgiving, I was happy with the 45,000 words I wrote. I considered it a success, all things considered. A little bummed that it was my first year to not blow the goal of 50,000 words in a month out of the water, but that’s what happens.
This year, I won’t be happy with anything less than 50,000 words. In fact, I’d really like to write more, but life and reality don’t always play nice with what I want to do. I can still plan appropriately. And that brings me to the whole point of this blog!
How do you plan for NaNoWriMo?
This isn’t the great Pantser vs Plotter debate. Either way, you will write your book the way you want, regardless of what I say. I can tell you what works for me, but it’s not the standard for everyone. Still, you can do some preparation. Unless you’re trying to stay away from any plot ideas or themes before November 1st. If that’s your goal, what are you doing here? Shoo, go on to someplace that’s talking about funny cat pictures.
For the rest of us, what can we do to get ready?
If you’re a Plotter, I want to hug you. You are my long lost sibling and I welcome you into the fold with open arms. For us, preparation is going to amount to sitting down and pouring over notes. Writing up character bios and timelines. If you’re like me, you might also do a calendar to figure out when everything has to happen. Depending on your genre, you could have a lot more, or a lot less to work on.
Here’s a list of starting items:
- World Building – for those who are going to write something that is set outside of the contemporary (meaning right now) time, you’ll need to build your world. Even if you’re writing something in the past, you will need to introduce your readers to it, and have all the facts down straight.
- Character Bios – these are the life stories of the people you’ll be using to show us your novel through. Know them!
- Plots/timelines – these can be bulleted lists, calendars or a complete story that tells the story.
You can prepare as much as you want, doing scrap books, drafting mock book covers, it’s all fair game!
For the Pantsers, you aren’t alone. There are hundreds of you out there. Maybe you have a vague idea of what you want to do. Jot that down! Any neat ideas, write them down and save them for when you’re in the thick of it and that one random idea you had while pumping gas can be the thing you need to bring it all together.
Regardless if you’re a Pantser or a Plotter, these last few days leading up to NaNo are a great time to open your mind. Watch some of the latest movies, read a good book, glance over that craft book. Take a walk, chat with some writers online. Stretch those creative muscles because they’re about to get a workout!