Preparing for NaNo

Sunday, October 23, 2011
Is it only a little over a week until the start of NaNoWriMo? This year I thought I was getting a good jump on planning my novel. I'd be all ready come November 1st with a detailed outline, character sketches, plot points, maps, and all the other things I usually develop as I write a novel. I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

Oh, I do have a list of characters and a vague idea of the plot. I've been getting good planning ideas from Alexandra Sokolov's blog over the past two weeks. But she just posted the details of Act 1 this week and I haven't even gotten to use that! There are two more acts and only nine days before I have to start writing! Panic is starting to set in.

Oh, I've done more prep than I have some years. But, for a plotter, it's never enough. Fantasy writers have a problem with worldbuilding. They can spend months--years, even--drawing maps and costumes and floorplans and developing languages and religions and magic systems.  Mystery writers--those of us who plot, anyway--can get bogged down in red herrings and suspects and arcane clues.

I've never understood how "pantsers" (those who write by the seat of their pants) ever get a novel out of what they write. I admire those who can sit down in front of a blank screen and just start typing a story out. They lead their characters to the edge of a cliff, push them over it, and only then do they worry about how they'll survive the fall. Me, I'd be hyperventilating, my stomach would be tied up in knots,  and I would probably turn that character into another victim. Unless I did several days worth of research on how someone somewhere survived a similar fall.

There's other kinds of prep that I have done, though. I've laid in a supply of chocolate. (Did Chris Baty plan on leftover Hallowe'en candy when he decided NaNoWriMo should start on November 1st?) I picked up a packet of Via, Starbucks instant coffee that actually tastes like coffee. I've been checking out recipes recommended for cooking during the month of November, things that don't take much time for preparation so you have more time for writing.

I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. There's nothing like the adrenalin rush of needing to type 1667 words every day knowing that there are thousands of people all over the world doing the same thing.

So, since I'm running out of time, I need to get back to my novel planning. That's all for this week.


Anonymous said...

I'm a pantser, and I don't know how they finish books either. Tony Hillerman said he did it that way, so I decided to believe it's possible. The only thing that drives me crazier than the blank screen is trying to plot too far down the road. (I should probably find something else to occupy my time, but I can't stop writing.)

Elise M Stone said...

I guess you'll figure out how to finish the book when you get there. I know several pantsers -- published -- and they always finish. Whatever works for you is good.

If you've got the disease, it's impossible to stop writing. I know. I've tried. That usually lasts, oh, maybe a day or so before I'm itching to get back to it.

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