Happy October everyone! October means many different things, Thanksgiving (in some places), Halloween, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and the final month before NaNoWriMo. Now, some people prefer to jump into NaNoWriMo headfirst without any planning. This is what I did last year. However, some like to have some idea of what they’re going to be writing about. This is what in doing this year and this is why October can be a very important month to NaNoWriMo participants.
Planning your novel for NaNoWriMo can mean many different things. Some writers plan chapter for chapter, some map out the general plot, others create their characters and go from there. But how do you start?
Well, everyone starts their planning in much the same way: confused and not totally sure where they’re going with their idea. Depending on which method you choose, you may actually stay in this web of confusion for some time. Planning chapter for chapter may sound like it would be the easiest method, and I’m sure when all is said and done and you have the plan laid out in front of you it’s great. But reaching that point can actually be difficult. For my novel this is the main method I’m using and as great as it is it can be hard when you get stuck at a certain point and don’t know how to move forward. Sometimes you have chapters 1-10 done and you know what you want to happen in say, chapters 15-20, but what about 11-14? What happens then? What do you do when you don’t know where to go with your story? Well this is where the other methods of planning can help.
If you map out some of your characters or maybe even your setting, sometimes they can speak to you. The more you know about your characters, the more you know about their motivations and this can help move the plot along even when you don’t really know where it’s going. Of course, the important thing to remember here is that NaNoWriMo is about sitting down and writing. You don’t need to have the entire thing planned out. The truth is, even if you plan and plan and plan, stuff in your story is inevitably going to change.
So what do you think? Are you going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year? How are you getting ready?