10 October 2011

NaNoWriMo prep: developing your story

Before November 1st rolls around, it's really a good idea to know the basics of your NaNoWriMo* story. You don't necessarily need to know every detail of every step in the story arc, but knowing you have a story arc (and what it is) will certainly help you as you scribble about 2,000 words each day. You're less likely to write yourself into a corner or be at a loss for what comes next if you already have a destination (or resolution) point in your mind before you start.

Here are a few things to think about as you develop your story:


Where does your story start? Do you have an established world or situation that changes at the beginning of the story, or has the change already occurred? What characters are important to setting the scene for getting the action of your story going? How do you want to introduce your readers to what's going on?


What is the climax of the story? How do you get there? What happens immediately after? How do the characters react to what's going on?


How does your story resolve? Does it resolve? What happens to your characters when the story ends? What do you want readers to take away with them from the story? Is there a "moral"? How do you reveal it to your readers without actually stating it?

November is just around the corner. Yes, it may still only be the beginning of October, but time goes quickly, and NaNoWriMo will be here before you know it. What do you know about your story? Is it enough to start writing it? Are you ready for this scary, fun adventure?

*NOTE: NaNoWriMo's website will be relaunching for 2011 on Monday, October 10. This means that it's likely to be a bit laggy as people poke around the site and order their shirts for this year. If you log on, be patient. You can also follow NaNoWriMo on Twitter for updated info about the site and goings-on.

03 October 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011: let the fun begin!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again.

We're less than 30 days from starting the writing adventure known as National Novel Writing Month. I wasn't originally going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but my schedule is going to be changing to give me more time to work on fiction, so I decided I can at least use the NaNo time to work on the coffee house book. (All the work I've been doing on it has been background, so I suppose writing it "counts," doesn't it? Either way, I plan to write 50,000+ words on the coffee house book during the month of November.)

If you haven't already, it's time to start planning and organizing and working on all those background notes you're going to need in order to write 50,000 words in 30 short days. Yes, you can just jump into a story on November 1st without anything other than an idea, but being a somewhat organization-obsessed person, I'm all about the preparation. Wouldn't it go so much more smoothly if you had character biographies and an outline and background notes and a setting map?

Over the next few weeks I'm going to walk you through some of the steps you can use to help prepare yourself for NaNoWriMo 2011. And, before you know it, we'll be smack dab in the middle of a big, crazy, scary, fun adventure. Who needs sleep, anyway?