It’s October 10th which means NaNoWriMo season is upon us!
Last year my NaNo novel did not go too well. I wasn’t really as prepared as I should’ve been. (I’m a Plotter, through and through.)
NaNoWriMo is shorthand from National Novel Writing Month which takes place every November. The goal is to write an entire in a month! Winners are declared at the end of November with a word count of 50,000 original words. The official rules can be found here.
You have until November to declare your participation. Then as the clock strikes twelve on November 1st, writers take off around the world to sprint to the finish line. Until then, here are some ways to prepare yourself.
Create or update your NaNo profile.
Log in or sign up, set your region, and update your profile. Once you get more invested in your planning you can enter your novel’s title, summary, and artwork. (I personally usually wait until my story is a little more fleshed out to do this part.)
Get a notebook.
Or any type of space that is just for your novel. I personally like pen and paper to jot down my random thoughts; they usually will get lost in a virtual document. Think of this notebook as your brain’s junk drawer. Any idea that needs a home will go in it. A funny quote you heard? Write it down. A crazy dream you woke up with? Write it down. An idea that echoes in your head? Write it down. Whether it directly relates to your novel or not, dedicate a space for your ideas to go, at least for the next month or so. You’ll never know when you need some inspiration.
Write a brief summary of your idea.
A paragraph or two is sufficient, just to get the juices flowing. It doesn’t need to be a perfect arc at this point, but something that’s just enough to get you started as your plan and brainstorm. This is also a good time to find a place to get some writing prompts, especially if you’re a Pantser and don’t like to spend too much time plotting.
Brainstorm your characters.
For me, characters come first. I love character building. Make a list of important traits you need to know about your character, regardless of whether you’ll use them in the story or not. What is in their junk drawer? Do they have an embarrassing memory of sixth grade? Who is their emergency contact when filling out medical forms? Do they prefer cats or dogs? Have they ever left the country? Random facts about your character will not only make them more three-dimensional, it will also provide you with some inspiration for the future.
Do your research.
What kind of research will you need to do in the weeks leading up to November? Will you need to be an expert in the War of 1812? Do you need to know some basic Spanish? How honey is made? What different motorcycles are called? After you sketch out your plot and characters, jot down a list of what types of things you’ll need to reference in your novel and start crossing them off and you bookmark websites and read up about it.
Brag a little.
Tell your friends and family you’ll be MIA for the month of November. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or your social media network of choice. Once you put the buzz out there, they’ll be more people holding you accountable. And this way, once you turn down plans for the whole month, they will know why!
Did I miss anything? What are some way you prepare for NaNoWriMo?