NaNoWriMo is a great challenge whether you are a planner, pants-er or plants-er and each person within those categories structures their writing differently. See example, my abstract take on structuring a spooky graveyard cookie kit for my five-year-old. 😁
Planners are the writers who structure what they will write before the challenge begins on November first. There are a wide variety of planners, from those who start with just a bare outline of what the story will be to those who know what each chapter will hold. I’ve always been a planner, though some years have I’ve been a more structured planner than others. The pants-ers are those that jump into the challenge on November first with little to no planning and “fly by the seat of their pants” with their project. The plants-ers are those writers who live somewhere in the middle, where some aspects are planned, but the rest of the story is found during the NaNoWriMo journey. No matter the type of structuring a writer follows during the journey, the goal is the same: to get a full story drafted within the thirty days.
The idea for what a writer will write during NaNoWriMo can come from anywhere. The writing of the draft that counts for the challenge can only take place during November first through the thirtieth, but that doesn’t mean a writer has to avoid ideas in progress. Some years I’ve done free writes to find ideas and others I’ve used ideas from my story catalogue. Ideally a writer sets out to write a first full draft of the story within the thirty days, though I’ve known writers who haven’t been able to finish the project they begin for NaNoWriMo and go back to that project later on. All of this to say, whether you structure or don’t, begin a story anew or revisit a story idea from the past, finish the challenge or not, any writing done in November will be a gain.
Last week I completed a brief description of each act of my story for NaNoWriMo. The story I’m writing this November, MS:A, is the third book in a trilogy. I know my characters and I had an idea of what would happen, but I wasn’t entirely sure until I sat down to write it all out. The story structure so far is actually pretty brief, with only about a paragraph describing each act of the story and honestly, I don’t think I’m going to push much further into structuring for this year’s challenge. I know where I’m going and beyond that I want to discover how these two groups of characters and how their individual journeys within the world will collide. This week I’m going to work more on revising MS:SB and give myself some space from MS:A. Taking time away from MS:A will help me gain clarity on whether or not I do want to do anything more to prep for NaNoWriMo. We are halfway though October and NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!
Are you a planner, pants-er or plants-er typically? Typically do you go into NaNoWriMo with a new idea or chasing an idea already in progress? In case you haven’t been told today, you are doing a great job and you are more than enough.