Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NaNoWriMo Prep: I Have No Plot!

In only 15 days NaNoWriMo will be upon us. Thousands of people around the world will be typing away to create 50,000 word novels by the end of the month. Usually, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I love checking out the forums, brainstorming ideas, and writing in my little notebook all of the plans I have for my upcoming novel.

This year, I'm already stuck. It's only half way through October and I feel like I'm at a dead end. While, I know overall this isn't really a problem. A ton of people go into NaNoWriMo not having planned a single thing. In fact, I love the process of writing and seeing where my story goes and how it changes as I write. However, I like to at least have a rough outline and know generally where I'm going. As of right now, I feel like I don't have a plot. There are a few scenes in my head, but nothing which comes together to create a storyline.

Surely, I can't be the only one in this situation. Other people must be having issues with brainstorming their stories, right? So... Here is advice I give to you... And myself.

1) Find Brainstorming and Writing Buddies

This is always one of my biggest pieces of advice for those doing NaNoWriMo. The beauty of this month is that you have a built in writing community where everyone is in the same boat and know what you're going through. I'm so excited I live in a city because I'll have a lot of opportunities for write ins. (Declare a home region on the NaNoWriMo website and you can go to some in your area!) Or you can go to the forums and get ideas and buddies there.

You can also go to your "real life" friends. I was able to vent some of my frustrations to a close friend over the weekend, and while she's not a writer she helped ease my mind. I them texted a writing friend and we are going to hang out next week to brainstorm story ideas.

Other people are a valuable asset to your writing!

2) Develop Your Characters

Nearly every year during NaNoWriMo I have some sort of plot issue which is solved by developing my characters or switching one detail about them. The dynamics and the chemistry between the characters personalities can help drive your plot. I can't tell you how many times I've been on a long drive in October or November and start having "conversations" with my characters (I know I sound crazy right now) and suddenly new plot points and twists come to my head.

In fact, I wrote up a character development worksheet on Google Docs for you all to help you out. It gets pretty detailed and you can use what sections are most helpful to you, but I know sometimes thinking through those details can really help me flesh out my characters.

3) Get Some Visuals

I've learned to LOVE Pinterest and Google Images for helping me do my novel planning. I don't know about you, but it helps me to have images of people I think would look like my characters, pictures of what I think would be in their apartment or where they live, etc. I have secret boards for my NaNoWriMo novels, and I started a public board for writing tips. You can find it by clicking here.

What other advice would you give people (aka: ME!) when they feel like they are stuck in their novel planning?


  1. I have no plot yet either, so things aren't looking good for me.

  2. Love the character development list! I'm in the middle of some major editing/reworking on my novel but it will be interesting to fill one out on my characters to see how well I developed them (or not). Plus, it might give me some more ideas for working the story.


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