We have a few weeks to go until the biggest month-long holiday for writers. That's right. National Novel Writing Month starts Nov. 1, which means it's time for participants to get our party pants on and figure out what we're going to do with our lives once the clock strikes midnight.
For those of you who don't know, National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is a month-long writing project in which participants attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November.
This will be my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo. My first two completed novels were started during November in 2010 and 2011. I worked on a third, still incomplete, novel last year. As I prepare for this year's often agonizing and exhausting, but super thrilling trip down the road to word generation, I wanted to talk about my game plan. Because I'll also have to balance NaNoWriMo with promoting the holiday anthology that features my story and working a full-time job, I have to be organized.
If you're a bit of a plotter like me, you want to have that taken care of before you start your work. I've blogged about this before in the past, but here's a list of the links with some of the practices I use for pre-writing character and plot development.
- Character Sketch: Give your character a name, description and back story.
- Before and After: Determine where each main character is before and after the story. This will help you figure out what happens in the story.
- The 10-Scene Tool: Knowing your 10 main scenes will help with pacing and ensure you drive your story in the right direction.
- Sell It: Write the promotional blurb you'd use to pitch this book to readers. It's like a mission statement for your novel.
- Working Synopsis: Outline what will happen in each chapter in your book. This is the most extensive pre-writing work you'll do should you go down this path.
- Ultimate Plotting Kit: This is a combination of these other tips. Depending on how you create it, this can be a mobile plotter you take wherever you go.
My final tip for making your NaNoWriMo experience a success: Make time for writing. I know I'll have a crazy busy month in November, but I took a couple of vacation days at the beginning of the month, which I plan to use to make a big statement word count-wise. Nov. 1 falls on a Friday, so that opening weekend should give me ample time to strike while my energy and excitement are high. With a quiet Thanksgiving weekend in my future, I've also scheduled in several hours those final three days of the month to sneak in more writing if I haven't met my goal by that point.
I've built in time for writing by pre-writing several blog posts for the month of November. I always like to plan ahead when it comes to my blog, but by actually writing and scheduling a big chunk of my posts now, I'm giving myself more time later. I hope.
With that, let the countdown to NaNoWriMo begin...
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