NaNoWriMo 2021 Prep Continued

This week’s preparations were all about my environment. I took the time to prep my board, my music, and my Scrivener doc and each step helped me to get ready for this challenge.

NaNoWriMo, for as much work as I do to prepare, is really about how I show up everyday during those 30 days of November. I know that I am not going to have maximum energy for all of those thirty days. I know at some point during those thirty days, if the past twenty years of my life are any indication, I’m going to have a migraine. The prep I’m doing now is as much for those low days that I know will come as they are for every other day of NaNoWriMo. Once I finished the work of prepping my physical environment last week, I worked on sketching the first act of the story. I knew what my opening image for the story was going to be and what the inciting incident would be, and worked from each end to figure out the pacing of the moments between. Plotting those moments into scenes worked out pretty smoothly with only a few moments where I’m unsure what will happen. I’m always torn with which approach I want to take in those situations when I’m not sure what will happen in a chapter or a scene. Sometimes when I do a rough sketch of what I think will happen, the story flows there, like creating a dam in a brook, forcing the energy where I’ve placed my rocks. Other times I let the energy go where it will and find the path the story wanted to take all along. For this story I find myself taking the “do not do anything that feels like forcing” with the planning or deciding of things. That pull of what the story will be has led me so far and I’m going to continue to let it lead me as I go along.

This week will be all about working on sketching the second act of the story. Like the first act, I have pretty good idea of how the third act will go, but the second act of the story if largely unformed. I know the scenes that will happen and what the characters are going to experience, but I’d like to do some plotting to figure out the pacing and progression of the second act. I didn’t get to do any freewriting last week and I really think it will be helpful this week to begin to figure out the second act of the story. When I freewrite in a situation like this, where I know the general premise, outline, and drafting of the story to come, I chose a moment either before the story has begun or after it has ended and write from there. I’ll take my main character for example and find a moment in the past or future of her life and write a few pages. Usually what happens is I find that character reacting or behaving in a way that has either been shaped by what she’s experienced in the story in the past or behaving in a way that speaks to how she will react to situations in the story I’m about to write. Both exercises are hugely helpful in gaining insight into both who the character is and how the scenarios in the second act of the story will happen based on my character’s reactions in the freewrite. It is a bit tricky to follow all of the threads in these exercises, but the reward is felt in how much deeper the writing will be because of the work done here. I’m excited to take my time this week to start to figure out more of who these characters are and what they will bring to the story in November.

In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough.

Happy Writing!

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