We’re halfway through the month of October, which means there are just a few weeks left before NaNoWriMo kicks off on November 1. In order to prepare for what I hope will be a successful month of writing I’ve been doing a bit of prep-work these past few weeks.
As I mentioned in my first post in this series here, I began the countdown to November by working on the outline for the story I’m planning to write. As the outline developed, I found I needed to clarify the setting, in order to get a big picture view of how the story will progress. If you missed it, you can read that post, and the helpful suggestions from commenters, here.
With a general outline and the story setting(s) nailed down (kind of, sort of), I still have a pretty large gap that needs to be addressed before I start trying to put words on the page. I need to know who these people are who will inhabit the story. My heroine needs a hero. My antagonist needs a supporting cast. And I need to know who that random assortment of secondary characters is and what roles they are going to play.
Piece of cake, right?
Not surprisingly, this week my focus is on: Character Continue reading
I began the countdown to NaNoWriMo 2017 with last week’s post on outlining, which generated some good discussions amongst our commenters from both ends of the outlining continuum.
“More and more over the last few days I’m starting to think of outlining (at least the way I usually do it) as a first draft. It’s just lacking details.”
That makes sense to me. Whether your first pass through a new story is via an outline or via a purely “pantser” style process you’re just trying to tell yourself the story. However you start out you will (hopefully) wind up with a draft that you can then flesh out into a full-blown story.
The outline for my upcoming story currently looks a bit like a movie script. For each potential scene there are notes about location and timing, the characters who are involved, who “owns” the scene, and what the outcome of the scene will be. In some cases where I felt especially inspired, I even managed to capture a few lines of dialog or action that I thought of while sketching things out.
One thing that slowed me down a bit during the outlining process was not having the setting(s) for the story nailed down. I know where it starts and ends and have some ideas about the middle, but I definitely need to do some more work in that area.
Conveniently, this week my focus is on: Setting Continue reading
The kids are back in school, holiday merchandise is popping up at the local stores, and my heater at home came on for the first time this season.
Do you know what that means?
Right, National Novel Writing Month is almost here. For those of you who are not familiar with NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short), it’s a month where writers around the world do their best to get 1,667 words on the page every day in the month of November, resulting in a 50,000 word manuscript by December 1st.
It’s fun and exciting and motivating and challenging and, frankly, hard as all get out.
It’s also a great way to focus on a writing project and get some words on the page. Of course, not everyone has a creative muse who responds well to that kind of pressure, but as I found out in 2015, mine seems to be okay with the idea. Something about the accountability and not wanting to be left behind when others reach their target word counts is just the motivation I need to move from “thinking” about story to actually writing it down.
Last year was a bust, for reasons outside of my control, but I’m looking forward to November this time around (and not just because there will be Halloween candy right beforehand). I’ve already decided on the story I’ll be writing, a contemporary romance with the working title A Change of Heart. The story is the second book in the series that I started with my 2015 NaNo story, Second Chances.
In order give myself the best chance of success this time around I’m doing a fair amount of pre-work. It worked well for me in 2015, so it makes sense to do it again.
This week my focus is on: Outlining Continue reading
It’s October already. How did that happen? What do you absolutely, definitely, non-negotiably intend to get done before the end of the year?
I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, but I do like to end the year with a feeling that I’ve achieved something, finished something, made some progress. So I usually take stock around now, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and set myself some objectives for the next three months.
Today, we’ve got a short interview with Lois McMaster Bujold about the writing process. Just in time for National Novel Writing Month’s first weekend! Lois writes the thrilling tales of the Vorkosigan family, the Wide Green World, and the World of the Five Gods. This week, the third story about Penric in the W5G came out: Penric’s Mission was published on November 2, 2016. (Announcement on her Goodreads blog, here.) Lois is a master of speculative fiction, and her liberal use of romance in these genres makes her worlds rich and real. Grab a cyber beverage from the Eight Ladies Writing fridge, and pull up a seat!
MD: So, National Novel Writing Month is basically about creating a first draft of at least 50,000 words. What’s your favorite thing about writing the first draft?
LMB: Finishing it. (-:
Starting it runs a close second, true. Then, probably, those moments when a sticky knot gets suddenly undone by some neat idea or inspiration that I didn’t have — often couldn’t have had — earlier. Continue reading
I am doing NaNo this year. Sort of. I don’t intend to write 40,000 new words. I do intend to edit 40,000. In fact, I’d like to edit 100,000 words. I’ve been picking away at my first manuscript but haven’t been super dedicated so I haven’t gotten very far. I thought NaNo would be a month to re-focus on writing, but coming at it from the editing angle instead of the writing angle. Continue reading
As Michille mentioned in her recent post, the annual writing extravaganza known as NaNoWriMo is fast approaching; thirty days of writing 1,667 words along with the existing demands of everyday life.
Sounds fun, right?
As with other goals, a little up-front prep-work can make the difference between a successful finish (however you measure success) and an angst-ridden struggle. Or something like that.
Part of my pre-work has been getting the basics of my characters, conflict, and setting, nailed down so I have some idea of what I’m trying to write. An equally important part of my pre-work has been ensuring I’m mentally and physically ready to write. Continue reading
With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, I am trying to plan out the rest of my 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, and it is tough. I made the goal once, but only got to 35,000 the other time. Both times, I was starting from scratch. This time I have 40,000 and just want to finish the darned book. Continue reading
It’s officially fall, so naturally we’re in the midst of a post-summer heat wave. The raccoons are back to foraging in the back-yard in the evening and there’s a hopeful (though unappealing) possum who stops by the front porch after dark to check for left-over kibble in the cat’s dish.
The joys of suburbia.
The arrival of fall means it won’t be long before the holidays are upon us. More importantly, it means there are only 34 days before the start of NaNoWriMo.
Are you appalled?
Excited? Continue reading
January was a busy month at Ye Olde Day Job. It started off with some high priority projects and ended with everybody’s favorite activity, the Annual Performance Review.
Though it can be a pain, the review process is a good opportunity to look at what was planned, what happened, and what did and did not work. After finishing the reviews at work, I thought it would be a good exercise to repeat the process for my writing.
It did not go well.
When we started blogging here almost 2 ½ years ago, I think it’s fair to say we all had high hopes that we would finish the book we were working on before too long and move on to the next phase in our writing. I for one did not expect to still be trying to completely finish that first book.
I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but . . . . Continue reading