Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Did someone say 'NaNoWriMo?' -- Some help to get you started

The time is nearly upon us!

For my fellow writers, you know what's coming in November: National Novel Writing Month. This annual challenge isn't for the feint of heart. It takes a lot of commitment and stubbornness to write 50,000 words of your novel in one month. But I have faith in you, and if you continue reading, I have some advice to help you prepare.

While my first attempt in 2010 was a disaster, I think I've learned a lot since them. I drafted my second and third books (still unpublished) in November the last two years, and, believe it or not, I'm ready to tackle book four. But just because I'm writing a book in a month doesn't mean I can't start inventing now. So, where to begin, you may ask?

The first thing you need is an idea. It can be anything, really. Sometimes I recycle ideas I've come up with in the past but never fleshed out. But if that doesn't work, you can find inspiration from dreams, other books or movies, real life, or other authors such as yours truly.

Next, start with something simple -- a basic outline. My friend Brandy M. Miller wrote a blog entry that I found very helpful in my "plotting" last year: http://40daywriter.com/preparing-for-nanowrimo-2014/. In fact, I timed myself using her method and found it didn't take me much time at all to come up with my starting point.

Her next blog entry (http://40daywriter.com/preparing-for-nanowrimo-2014-part-2/) gives you a format for fleshing out more of your characters and story outline. I found it really helped having a play-by-play for each character in each section of my book. Of course, they probably won't go with the plan anyway when the actual writing begins, but at least you can try.

The final steps Brandy suggests were ones I never got to last year, but think would have saved me from having to stitch a lot of plot holes after the fact: http://40daywriter.com/preparations-for-nanowrimo-part-3/. This entry deals with questions.

Of course, remember that a first draft is always far from perfect. And the editing is always the hardest part. Still, I'm intrigued to begin again this year and see how everything pans out.

Until next time.
Heather Kennison, Author