Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Monday, October 10, 2011

Countdown to NaNo

Writing Song of the Day: "Countdown" by Beyonce

As the title states, we are UBER excited for NaNoWriMo this year. We have our notebooks ready, our minds are stewing new WIP ideas, AND we're already thinking up what the prize will be when we complete the novel in one month challenge.

If you're like us and you just can't wait for NaNo to start (in about three weeks...), we have some tips for you. The tips give you something to do each week in order to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Completing this will have you ready to start writing on November 1st, and will shave off some of that anticipation as you wait to begin your new novel. Here's what we think you should do each week to prepare for NaNoWriMo 2011.

Week 3 October 10th-16th: Choose your idea. This may sound simple, but if you have ADHD like we do, it ain't. We always have a bajillion ideas running through our heads and it's hard to narrow that down to one idea. During this week, at least by Sunday, you should be settled on exactly what you want to write about. What genre will it be? Are you going to write YA, MG, or maybe even go for early readers or an adult book? Also, ask yourself why you need to tell this story in particular. Once you think of an answer for that last question, you'll be settled on that one perfect idea.

Week 2 October 17th-23rd: Narrow down the focus and create your layered plot. Now that you have your idea, what is your major plot point? Use books like Fill-In-The-Blank Plotting by Linda George. Me and Pam are definitely planning to crack this one open during the week of the 17th to narrow our plots and create a well rounded story. Make sure you have baby plots, too. Without baby plots, your story won't work and you'll be staring at a blank screen trying to squeeze out those words come November.

Week 1 October 24th-30th: Get to know your characters on a personal level. Now that you have your focus, plots, and baby plots, it's important to delve into those characters more. There are numerous places you can go to gain access to character worksheets (if you don't know of one, e-mail us, we have plenty saved and are willing to share). Some are more in depth than others. The more in depth, the better. This way when you're trying to meet your word count on November 15th but a scene just won't come to you, you can can pull out that character worksheet and use those quirks to add more dialogue or describe a setting in your character's voice.

What else do you think should be added to this countdown to NaNo? We'd love your advice--especially those NaNo veterans. This is only our second year and we could use some of your tricks.


Racquel Henry said...

Great tips! I am SO excited for NanoWriMo this year! I don't think I'll be outlining this year. I tried it last year, and it was no good to me by the midway mark. My character seemed to have a mind of her own. LOL. :)

Jamie Manning said...

Excellent advice, you guys! I did NaNo last year, but I never thought about utilizing the weeks leading up to it, I just dove in head first (not safe I may add, both in swimming AND NaNo!). And I would LOVE your most detailed character worksheet...in fact, I'm emailing you now!

Thanks for the post, ladies!

KOwens said...

Fantastic tips. I am not doing NaNo per se, but I'd like to do it in another month (Nov is bad for me).

Alicia Gregoire said...

Fantastic tips, ladies! I've been plotting out my nano for a week now and am hoping to get my story bible completed soon.

Jessica Love said...

Great tips! I made the mistake before of going into NaNo with no plan and, well, 3 years later I'm still trying to untangle that mess. I'm not going to make that mistake again this year!

Sarah Kate said...

These are really great tips! Thank you for sharing them with us. I'm even more excited for NaNo now!

Pam Harris said...

Glad you all enjoyed the tips! :) Now comes the hard part...actually following them!