Oct 12, 2009

19 days and counting

There are only 19 more days before November 1st and the start of NaNoWriMo. I've got a lot to do to prepare to actually start writing. I've been perusing the forums on the NaNo web site and saw that another first-timer asked how others prepare for this challenge. Of course there are those few people who jump into this with nothing more than a fleeting thought of a plot. Then there are those who do major planning and outlining and pretty much all they need to do is connect the dots in their outlines and they've got the 175-page novel done. I fall into the middle - those who cannot fly by the seat of their pants, but who find an overly detailed outline too constricting.

So what to do? I actually found out that the process I've been using over the past few months (I told you I was slowly working on my story) would probably suit someone who needs some direction so they don't get lost when the pressure is on. The solution? A simple pack of notecards and some time to brainstorm.

So as not to bore everyone, here's what I still need to get done in the next 19 days:

  • Settle on/name a few more minor characters.

  • Determine goal/motivation/conflict for three main characters

  • Finish brainstorming plot points.

  • Get the plot points in some sort of order.

  • Fill in the gaps a bit.

  • More research - possibly on settings and occupations.

This sounds like a lot...and I think it is, but I hope to get stuff done during my lunch break. Patrick asked me if outlining was going against the whole "getting it all out on paper" idea, but I don't think it is (by the way, outlining is OK by the NaNo rules - starting to write before November 1st is not). I know what kind of person/writer I am. I need some sort of direction or I'll freeze under the pressure of the 30 day deadline. If I don't even have an idea of where the story is going, I could sit for hours or even days wondering what should happen, losing precious writing time. That doesn't mean that I have every little detail figured out. It just means that I have thought about what events lead my characters to do certain things. I've thought about what kinds of situations they might face. It might all change when I sit down to write, but for now, there's a semi-plan in place. I would never want everything figured out because that would take all the fun out of writing. Sitting down to write this story is like taking a little adventure with the characters (and with that sentence, I now fully realize how big of a writing dork I really am).


Jason said...

Yes, but such a lovable writing dork. :-)

Maybe we should hold off on getting together for lunch again until after November? So we can celebrate your triumph?

Tracy said...

Or laugh at how stupid I was for thinking I could write a 175-page novel in 30 days :-)

Katie said...

You're doing NaNo!! How cool, Tracy! Excited to read your updates!

Tracy said...

Hi Katie! Are you doing NaNo? I'm not sure what I was thinking. As November 1st gets closer, I'm starting to panic...

Kristie said...

I am willing to lend my name to your efforts as long as she is cool and doesn't kill anyone. Or you can use my alter-ego, Elizabeth!