I am so excited to get ready for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! In case you don’t know about the NaNoWriMo challenge, it is a challenge that happens during the month of November where writers push themselves to finish a 50,000 word complete first draft of a manuscript. This is the blog post I wrote last year that describes more of the details about the challenge called NaNoWriMo Prep- Week 1. There are planners (those that write notes, plan scenes and acts, etc) and there are pants-ers (those that start writing on November 1st with nothing pre-planned for the story). I am a planner, and for me that means that I take the time during the month of October to do some writing exercises to determine what I will write about. Once I’ve figured it out, I do some outlining, character notes sheets, write out some scene ideas, etc. before November 1st. I don’t write any of the actual story until November when the challenge begins. The idea is to write 1,667 words per day to get the 50,000 word complete draft by November 30. For the last two years, I’ve completed the 50,000 words by the end of the month but that did not happen 1,667 words at a time. Some days I wrote under 1,000 and others I wrote close to 3,000. I’m sure this year will be no different.
This week, I decided to do some writing exercises to help me figure out what I wanted to write for the challenge. I looked online for some story starters and wound up mashing a couple of ideas that were teased in my brain from a few things I read into two writing exercises. The first was interesting, and I love the character that came up from it, but it hasn’t fully developed in my brain. That character sticks with me, but I’m not sure what she wants or what’s going to happen to her. The second story idea just poured out of my fingertips and onto the page. I wrote a scene about the story on my computer first and then on Friday night I curled up on my couch, the fireplace going and Sense and Sensibility playing quietly in the background, and wrote longhand in my journal about four pages describing the first act of the story, ideas about who the main character is, and some details about the world. I know who the girl is, what sets her world spinning from the very first sentence of the story, how the world is set, what’s going to happen to her and her sister, and where she’s going to wind up. I don’t know what her darkest night will be. I don’t know what the baddest of the bad will do to her character. And I don’t know how the story will end. But I am SO EXCITED to start writing on November first to figure it out! Over the next couple of weeks I will work to plot out the first couple of acts based on what I know already, and try to get my lay of the land, beyond my main character’s neighborhood.
Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you a planner or a pants-er? If you are going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, do you have a story idea?
I wish I was a better planner!! I do have a vague sense of my MC and where I think the story is going… I keep telling myself I’ll do some of the Preptober activities that Nanowrimo sent out but haven’t gotten around to it yet…
That’s awesome that you have the idea! October is very full and very a lot suddenly, so we’ll see how much I can get through. Knowing the main character and the story’s premise is the most helpful I think. I haven’t had a minute to look through the email that NaNoWriMo sent out unfortunately.
It’s interesting– I always find that no matter how much backstory and prep work I do for a book or play, the first words out of the character’s mouth always throw me for a curve. It’s like reading up on a real person and seeing their picture before you actually meet them. Once you’re standing next to them and hearing them talk, you suddenly realize their presence is something that no background information could have prepared you for.
Yes! That’s a great way to describe it! I think that’s when you get the most authentic characters as well, because you know they’re not someone you’ve put yourself into. They come from all those places we store ideas and thoughts and musings about different character traits, like an inner character generator we have no control of.