For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. This amazing event happens every November. Writers from across the world gather on-line and in person to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Yes, you heard right, they are righting entire novels in a single month.
More than 700,000 writers participated in November 2014, and I was one of them. It was my fourth year participating in the event and every year has been more fun than the year before. I encourage any and all writers, and everyone who ever thought they might like to try being a writer, to sign up, get involved, and try to accomplish the amazing goal of writing a novel in a month.
I happen to live in an area with an extremely active group of WriMos (that would be the writers who do NaNoWriMo). So active in fact that I see a lot of them once a month or even once a week during the other eleven months of the year because we’re all so excited about writing. It’s amazing, and it means I have plenty of friends to share my excitement as we plan this October. Can you tell that I think you should try this out for yourself to see how awesome it is?
Evangelizing done, let’s talk about preparing for that November journey.
So how do I plan for NaNoWriMo?
I am what they call a “Pantser” rather than a “Planner.” This means that I don’t go into November with a neat outline (or much of an outline at all really), and I don’t know what’s going to happen in my story until we reach the end of November and I’ve written it all down. I fly by the seat of my pants and let the characters play and evolve the story for me.
Which means there aren’t a ton of things I can do in October, right? Wrong.
I work up my setting if I need to. This year I’m working in an existing series so there’s less of this. But I still need to determine how big the base of operations for my primary bad guys is and where they hold the good guys in said base and where it connects with the mortal realms. The base is a piece of Faery itself, so I get to have a lot of fun with this.
I develop all the details for my characters, their descriptions, backstories, motivations, fashion, families, friends, and whatever else strikes my fancy.
Sometimes this leads to writing about things that have happened to them. A scene here or there that was very important in their life, and this helps me get a better feel for who they are, how they speak, what they do, and how they interact with others and the world.
This year, I thought I’d take everyone along for the ride as I worked on my planning. So look forward to updates each Friday with character sketches, settling details, other exercises I’m doing to prepare, and maybe even a scene or two along the way.
*Title Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo.org