Last week I talked about some of the NaNoPrep I’m doing as an ML for my region. (If the terminology is confusing, checkout the last post for a brief vocab guide.) This week, I’d like to talk a little about how I’m preparing (or not) for NaNoWriMo as a participant myself.
So I’m a pantser. This is a commonly used term for an author who “flies by the seat of their pants” while writing, and is the opposite of a planner, who has a plot outline and a lot of other planning and prep done prior to writing the first word of the story. These aren’t the only options, obviously, just the common extremes (who playfully battle for supremacy in NaNoLand).
Being a pantser means that I don’t usually do much prep for the actual story. I may do a very brief version of an outline. Something like Boy meets Girl, magical attack happens, pair fights their way through, ends with Boy joining Girl’s coven. Super simple with two to five actual plot points. As far as plot, that’s probably all I’ll do before I start writing. And fifty percent of the time the last two to three plot points change before I get to them anyway.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of prep I can do.
One of the things I do is work out a lot of character information. From appearance to history to writing some scenes of their past, I love to spend time developing my characters before, during, and after initial drafting. Another is building the setting. I’ll work up history for the area, the coven in this example, the people who make the magical attack, and how the world is different from our own (this being a modern fantasy example). A lot of this information goes into spreadsheets with tabs for people, places, things, history, etc. After initial drafting this will also get linked to a Scrivener project if I pull the novel into that for editing and revision.
So just because I’m a pantser doesn’t me I don’t plan anything and I don’t do prep work before I start writing. But it also means I don’t have to. Like this year.
So far, I have no idea what I’m going to be working on in November. I haven’t even written much of anything (aside from blog posts) in the past few weeks. (Moving really takes a lot of time and energy.)
A plotter would be freaking out by now if they hadn’t started planning or at least settled on an idea. I know some planners who had their entire NaNo project mapped out by the end of August. I know some epic planner types.
Me, I’m not worried. I’ll always find something to write about, some character to explore or setting to build. Drafting is the part of writing I love best, and I’ve done a lot of it, so I know even if the idea doesn’t strike me until 11:59pm on Halloween, I’ll have something to write come November 1.
How about you? Anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year? Are you a planner or a punster? Do you know what you’re writing? I love connecting with fellow WriMos.
*Images Courtesy of National Novel Writing Month