Monday, October 28, 2013

Last Minute NaNoWriMo Preparations

NaNoWriMo begins in on Friday.

Let that sink into your brilliant and creative writing brain there for a minute.

You have four days. Four days to prepare, plot, outline, research, and plan for your novel. While these are all things you can continue to do once November 1 arrives, the next four days are your last chance to focus solely on these things before putting words on paper.

If you are anything like me, you are now filled with a mixture of uncontrollable excitement to start writing...

It's appropriate cause NaNoWriMo indeed does start on a Friday.
Here's hoping Rebecca Black joins in on the fun fun fun.

But also complete terror because you're no where near ready.

Never fear! I'll be the Zack Morris to your Jessie Spano and we'll figure this thing out. You're going to be just fine.

Just as long as you don't grab those caffeine pills. ;-)

Here are my tips for everyone who is getting ready for NaNoWriMo at the last minute:

- Be sure to have your hero/main character ready to go. Create a quick description and bio of them - even if it's just their name, their job, a few cliche personalty traits, and a basic idea of how they look. Your main character is one of the most important parts of your story. Without them, your story will not happen. You can flesh them out more as November goes on and as you write your story. It's a good thing if they change and evolve as you write! However, you need to know your character and love your character. Figure out who they are and what they want. When you know these things, a lot of times you can get your plot from this alone.

- Choose a setting. Is the novel your writing in a place you know well? Or is it in another part of the country or world you are unfamiliar with? Or maybe you're writing a fantasy story where the world is one you made up (ex. Middle-Earth from Lord of the Rings.) Get a general idea of your setting and you'll get inspired. Even if it's a place you know well. My story is going to take place in Chicago. I am originally from there so I'm familiar with the setting. However, I still did a bit of research last night and I now have SO MANY new ideas popping up in my mind for my story.

- Create a basic outline. I know some people can just sit down November 1 and start writing without planning beforehand. That's awesome! However, I'm not one of them. I need at least some sort of outline and direction of where to go. This is the part that's scaring me the most. I have bits and pieces of the events which will happen in my novel, but it hasn't come together yet. Yet, I still have a basic idea. Even if you just write a few sentences or simply "Beginning, Middle, End." That's all you need to get started. If you really want to get into intense outlining, this is my favorite video. I've been trying this format for this year's novel and it's helping me to figure out the order my scenes should go in and where my plot still needs work.

- Find some writing buddies. Accountability and working together is huge in NaNoWriMo. You'll have a ton of support and people to bounce ideas around with. I don't know what I would do without some of my friends who write. They help me get a new perspective on my stories and fresh ideas I never would have thought of on my own. What's great about NaNoWriMo is that you have a whole website of people doing the exact same thing as you to choose from.

- Keep an open mind. I love my outlines and planning my story. However, it's okay to go off of your outline as well. It's awesome to have fleshed out characters before writing. But be ready for them to grow and change in ways you didn't expect. So if you don't have everything perfect by Friday, it's okay.

- Relax. Honestly, you're going to be just fine. NaNoWriMo is a challenge - and that's a good thing! You'll have bumps in the road, writers block, plot holes, times your writing is awful, and days you don't write a single word. That's okay. It's supposed to be a challenge. But it's also supposed to be fun. Let the creative process do it's job and let it take you along for the ride.

If you're a NaNoWriMo veteran - what else would you add for the last four days before November?
If you're new to NaNoWriMo, what other things do you want to know before the big day gets here?


  1. I have decided this week that I am definitely going to do nano again this year hoping that this will be the first time I succeed and win it! I have always wanted to write my own novel and I have many ideas running around in my head but I am going to spend this week sorting things out and planning and get it all down on paper before Friday!!!
    EEEEKKKK I'm excited thanks for inspiring me to give it a go again this year - we will get through the madness together!

  2. I love how excited you are! Plus, the saved by the bell reference is awesomeness.


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