So, you’re thinking of joining the hoard of insane writers who sign up to write 50,000 word in a month.
Good for you. It’s wild and crazy and totally fun.
It also starts in just over three weeks. And while for many, the fun of National Novel Writing Month is in the blind panic of flying by the seat of your pants, trying to figure out what wacky incident happens next and will yield at least another 4,000 words, if I tried that method, I’d end up curled in my closet, drinking wine from the bottle.
Nope, if you ask me, it’s best to go into NaNoWriMo with a plan, so that you never have the horrible, “What comes next?!” moment. If you have a roadmap, even a vague one, you will always know what scene should follow the one you’re writing.
Even if you hate planning, you should think of a few basic things.
1. Who is your protagonist?
2. What does he/she want?
3. Why does he/she want it?
4. How will he/she get it?
5. Who will try to stop her? Why?
If you can think of these basics, you’re well on your way to developing a plot. You have a protagonist, a goal, an antagonist, and motivations for both sides of the opposition. Pantsers as well as plotters will need to know these basics, but there’s still plenty of wiggle room.
I’m not playing the NaNo game strictly by the rules. Last year I used the month to finish the book I’m now shopping; this year, I’ll use it to start my next work. I’ll be spending the next three weeks plotting it out in meticulous detail—I’ll also be posting here for the next three Wednesdays, offering a few tips to help you get ready for the novel-writing madness.
If you need some additional plotting resources, check out these posts from the Spellbound Scribes (including yours truly!):
Structure: Plot’s BFF by Emmie Mears
Pantsers vs Plotters by Shauna Granger
Confessions of a Former Pantser by Kristin McFarland
Plotting with Scrivener by Adriana Ryan
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Claudia Lefeve