24 September 2021
I know this is a wee bit early before October but I wanted to go ahead and share some resources to help you prepare for National Novel Writing Month (November). If you have problems finishing a manuscript NaNoWriMo might help you finish. It teaches you how to muffle/choke your inner editor. Bribery works for my inner editor.
What if you aren’t writing fiction and still want to participate in this frenzied event? You can be a NaNo Rebel. A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. Some rebels choose to revise and edit their novels, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.
Back to the topic of novel writing. It’s easy for a nonwriter or someone who only writes short stories to say, “writing a novel can’t be that hard.” It can be. Many people wistfully say they want to write a novel one day. I’ll bet they started to really think about it, then broke out into an icy sweat while slowly backing away from that idea.
Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I’ve found that breaking such a large project into smaller pieces makes the process less overwhelming and easier to organize. I write my stories in Word but keep them organized in Scrivener.
To have an idea of where I’m going, I write out what I know about the major plot points and/or the pinch points in my story. This is a good start but I also need a way to keep myself on track without interfering my flow of creativity. Using the Hero’s Journey and the 3-Act Structure, along with the plot points I’ve written out give me a road map to follow. BUT, this method also gives me the room I need if I come up with ideas that are better than my initial effort. A Google search brings up lots of resources to help you prepare for NaNo.
Reedsy has an article that explains the Three Act Structure if you’re unfamiliar with this story structure. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/three-act-structure/
Here’s a link for the Hero’s Journey if you’d like to know more. https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/story-structure/heros-journey/
Author, Eva Deverell has plethora of writing worksheets to help get your Preptober off to a great start! https://www.eadeverell.com/preptober-schedule/
The NaNo website has helpful information, too. https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101
Here’s the word count breakdown to reach the 50,000 word goal: 1,667 words per day or 7 pages. If you can’t sit down and write that number of pages in a single sitting you can write 556 words in three sessions which will keep you at the daily goal.
Do you have a child or teen who’s a writer? NaNoWriMo has a Young Writer’s Program.
I hope the links provide a good starting place for your novel preparation. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, don’t put it off. Take the plunge! Don’t worry if you don’t reach the 200 pages goal what’s important is that you learned more about writing, yourself, and maybe made some new writing friends.
Keep writing and creating!
P.S. Don’t forget my Essentials of Characterization and Plotting workshop starts October 6. Here’s the link to register! https://www.heartsthroughhistory.com/event/the-essentials-of-characterization-and-plotting/