by Andrea Renee Cox
It’s just about that time again. NaNoWriMo begins on November 1, which is barely over a week from now. In case you haven’t yet heard, NaNoWriMo is short for the National Novel Writing Month—November—during which writers come together online and try to each write 50,000 words in a new book. Some are rebels and work on screenplays, short stories, or a new draft of an old book. I’ve been one of those rebels before, but this year I’ll be starting from scratch on an entirely new story.
How does one go about preparing for NaNoWriMo?
That’s a fantastic question. I used to simply wing it. Yep, I’m serious. I’d pick the idea most prevalent in my mind and dive into it with zero prep work done. No character sketches, no timeline, no backstories… nothing. It seemed to work… for a while. Then I’d get stuck. Not just I’m-in-the-ditch-someone-tow-me-out stuck, but actual I’m-in-a-fifteen-car-pileup-and-the-rescue-team-is-behind-miles-of-traffic stuck. It would typically take three to five days of precious writing time staring at the page and maybe getting a single paragraph written during that entire span.
In recent years, though, I’ve changed from a pantser (someone who writes by the seat of their pants, or without a lot of prep work ahead of time) to a plantser (a combination or pantser and plotter), but this year I’m considering myself more of a plotter (someone who prepares ahead of time and might have at least a rough outline of their story and/or character sheets worked up).