So how are you doing on NaNoWriMo prep? If you don’t know what this is all about, read my first post in this series. I’m still working on interviewing my MC, as well as doing some world-building. Today I’m sharing three more brief tips that should help a lot.
1) Set a time. If you’re like me, your goal-setting looks a lot like this: “I am totally going to prepare for NaNoWriMo this week! It’s going to be a huge priority! Oh, look, I’ve got school to do … Now I have free time, so I guess I’ll … read a book! Hey, now I’ve got a dentist appointment. Wow, where did the week go? I didn’t do any of that writing I said I would.” Sound familiar? The best — and only — way to combat this is to set a specific time each day when you commit to writing. It’s even better if you tell someone about it so they can hold you accountable. For me, it’s every night after dinner. I know life is crazy, so you may have to get up early or decrease your tv-watching/book-reading/facebooking/whatever time a little bit. But I promise you, it’s worth it.
2) Determine what brainstorming style works best for you. Do you prefer to organize your ideas by writing a list, a story, or ramblings? If you feel stuck, switching how you’re brainstorming is extremely helpful. If you’ve got your plot organized in a nice, bullet-point list but are getting nowhere with figuring out your characters, perhaps switch to rambling mode — jotting down whatever comes to mind in keywords, fragmented sentences, etc. Later you can go back and expand on some ideas or cross out which ones you won’t end up using. As another example, I had to work on the history of my fantasy world, and writing an outline made it feel like a huge school assignment. So instead, I wrote it like a story — once upon a time there was this land and this happened and the people reacted to it like this, etc. Not only was it more fun and got my creative juices flowing, it helped me remember how to write, well, a story. Speaking of which …
3) Write a little. I don’t mean NaNo prep, I mean normal story writing. You may be doing this already, and if you are, kudos to you. It takes me a while to figure things out sometimes. If you devote a whole month to just planning and outlining, you’ll sit down on November first and panic because you’ve forgotten how to write stories — weaving sentences together, describing settings and emotions, all that good stuff. Stay in the habit of storytelling so it won’t be a hard transition from lists to a novel.
Let me know how prep is going! Also check out Victoria’s in-depth, organized, and very helpful posts: Pre-NaNo Update #1 and Notes on Outlining, Plot, and Conflict and Pre-NaNo Update #2 and Notes on Backstory