Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NaNoWriMo Prep -- Yay or Nay?

First of all...National Writing Month is not a sprint. Its a month-long marathon of pushing for the coveted 50, 000 words. 

Many have started...few finish...even fewer 'win' with the 50K prize grasped in their sweaty, most likely cramping, fingers. It CAN be done though. You just need to prepare for it.

I know there are a lot of  opinions as to whether it is 'pure' or not to organize your thoughts or even outline a story before the bell, but I'm all for it. Why? Because I think it will help you reach your goal. 

And that is the whole point, right? Jump start a book -- get your first draft started?

So if you do plan on prepping for NaNo, there are a few ways to go.  I'm a huge fan of Randy Ingermanson's Snow Flake Method.  Its very step-by-step and you end up with not only plot blocks, an outline, and a rough draft of your synopsis, but you can work your steps into a very nice proposal.

Another program I've tried with great results is Scrivener. You can get a trial version that is free and lasts for 30 days which is all you need for Nano anyway. But once you start...this program will be one of your go-to organizational tools. We're talking research articles, photos, audio and video, all kinds of stuff!

Something I use now and have found works wonderful for visual people is a simple Index Card app. They have them for Windows, iOS, even phones. You can move scenes around and even import the outline to your computer which is very helpful.

Mindly is a great brainstorming tool. It works like a cluster brainstorm exercise, but you can assign colors and sizes to the difference spheres. You can also choose how to extendor telescope your ideas deeper as well. I use it on my phone, print out the 'mind map' and use it in my writing.  Easy peasy-lemon squeezy!

My pantser (discovery writer) friend makes outlines a la high school. And she weaves incredibly detailed and intricate plots. She's more of a free spirit and loves to just let go and let her characters 'be' but she does do some preparation.

NaNoWriMo may be a great opportunity to get that story that's been scratching in your skull out and on to paper. But as I said before, writing at that pace, without a plan, may result in a meandering mess.

If you have some great organizational ideas, I'd love to hear them. As I get ready for the month of November, I could use all the help I can get.  If you'd like to connect on NaNoWriMo's site...I am under: Raquel Byrnes.  :)

(Portions of the post are from a previous article from 2012.)


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Best of luck to you. I'm trying to finish up a book before the end of November but not at the NaNo pace.

Raquel Byrnes said...

LOL...yeah, NaNo pace is kind of scary. :) Good luck on your own endeavor.