With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, I am trying to plan out a new story so I have lots of writing fodder to meet the 1,667 words-per-day goal. Just looking at that number doesn’t seem that hard to do, but I’ve done NaNo a couple times. Did it once to finish a manuscript that I now has just sat. Another time, I got to 35,000. This time I want to start a new one.
In a very timely fashion, I got an email recently about screen plays and another from the Save the Cat lady. I thought, awesome, I’ll take those mini courses for motivation and to foment ideas. Then life interrupted and nothing happened. Now, NaNo starts on Sunday and I don’t have lots of fodder or creative juices flowing.
But there is still time and I would really like to do it this year so I’m going to do those two mini courses between now and Saturday (I swear). And I’ll come up with the basics: a main character and a problem facing that character. Then write down the scene ideas for the character and the problem. This is often how I start. Although, I tend to start more the main character’s goal, and then have difficulty with the conflict lock. I don’t usually do a full plot outline in the early stages (could be why I have a conflict lock problem). I tend to just start writing and then have to do the outline later when I’m figuring out where I am and where I’m going.
Here is a quote from author Ken Follett describing his process: “I rewrite the outline – and this may happen several times. Typically there will be a first draft outline, a second draft outline and a final outline, so it would twice go through the process of being shown to a number of people. The whole process of coming up with idea, fleshing it out, doing the research, drafting the outline and rewriting the outline comes to about a year all told. There are quite often a couple of false starts within this. I may spend a month working on an idea before I realize that it isn’t going to work and abandon it. But after this whole process, I’m ready to write the first draft.”
Looks like Follett is a planner/plotter, too. Where are all the pantsers? Are any of you folks getting ready to NaNo?
I am not planning to do NaNo this year, although it would have been my best year ever to give it a shot, since I’m not going to New York for Thanksgiving, the first time in about 25 years I’m not doing that. But 1,667 words is a lot for me these days, even when I don’t have to grind it out day after day.
The folks I know locally who do NaNo every year say that planning out as much as you can before you start writing is key to finishing: getting the characters, story line, arcs, conflict, etc, set up helps you achieve the word count, which of course you know. I just want to add that one of my critique partners is starting a screen play, and she had us look over her scene structure and it was eye-opening about what it revealed that needed to be done. So I think that the screenwriting class you’re looking at for NaNo could be a big help. Good luck with it! I’m looking forward to updates. 🙂
Thanks, Kay. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve been so busy that the pre-work hasn’t happened yet. Won’t happen today. Saturday may be a busy pre-work day.
Good luck with your NaNo prep and writing, Michille. I have every intention of writing as well–I even have a new story queued up and ready to be explored–as long as depression doesn’t derail me. I’ve done NaNo several times and have two finished manuscripts and a partial sitting and gathering dust. With no commuting, no family events, and no work conferences, I can hardly say I don’t have time to write. Now inclination, that’s a whole different question.
Frankly, I think what happens this coming Tuesday will be a predictor of whether I stall out at 5,000 words or persevere all the way to 50,000.
Let’s hope that we, along with all the other NaNo-ers out there have a prolific and successful November.
I completely agree on Tuesday being a big predictor. Here’s hoping we get our boost of motivation from it.
My RWA chapter has a spreadsheet for tracking daily word counts each month. Last month and this have been excellent for me–I’ve topped 16K each month.
That’s still a long way from 50K.
Thanks, Jeanne. I’m just hoping to get words on the page every day. So far I’ve done that. Although, yesterday was like 100 words – but I wrote.
There’s a lot of value in just re-establishing the habit of sitting down to write each day.
Hope the prepping went well, and even if it didn’t, I hope you are moving forward with it!
I’ve always been a pantser, and I’ve always come up short on NaNo — the one year I did win, it was because I forced myself to write THREE epilogs, LOL.
I’m really happy to see the rules have relaxed quite a bit on NaNo. They let you do short stories, or even a musical! So fascinating!
I have been pretty busy this week, and then there’s the election, which will probably drag on until Monday (possibly done by Saturday, but I find it best to think pessimistically so I can be pleasantly surprised if they are done early). There’s a chance, so I’m not totally depressed and going to bed at 7 p.m. every night. I’m not writing the whole 1667 words, either, but I hope I can do some catching up over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I did a big grocery shop today, and the COVID numbers are rising at an uncomfortable rate here in Hokkaido, so there’s a big possibility that I will stay home for the next three weeks, and we’ll just have food from the pantry and freezer. (Plenty of winter veg; harvest was good to us, and it’s unseasonably warm.)
I often think back to your adventure in February when you came home from China. I certainly didn’t imagine that we’d be in THIS position now. The abundance of caution seemed slightly silly at the time, but better safe than sorry, I thought. And then . . . AoC went right out the window in the States, it seemed like.
Writing can be an escape from it all. I hope we’ll find it comforting this November.
I only “won” once also, Micki.
And my husband and I have marveled multiple times at how we were ground zero on this whole thing and never would have expected to be where we (the whole world) is today.