How to prepare for NaNoWriMo
Hey everyone, I trust that everyone is having a good week so far (I will be posting an update about university in a few days’ time). But today I want to talk to you about NaNoWriMo. Yeah I know what you’re thinking – “This again? Hasn’t he talked about NaNoWriMo in loads of his posts before this one?” Well it is true that I talk about it a lot (don’t judge me, I’m just excited!), however this time I want to talk through it properly, and even if you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, then I’ll tell you that, too. Basically all I’m saying is stick around; it might be worth your time.
NaNoWriMo is abbreviation of National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November – next month, in fact. But what do you have to do? In a nutshell, you have to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of Novemeber, but you’re not allowed to write scenes beforehand; all you’re allowed to do is outline your plot and create characters, which is basic stuff before you write any novel. If you want to know the full details of this amazing event, then their official website will tell you everything that you need to know: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about/hownanoworks.
That sounds like fun.
That’s because it is! NaNoWriMo, for the people who have entered 2012’s event, is going to be as enjoyable as it is challenging. In the 2011 event there were 256, 618 participants. Can you guess how many managed to win? At the end of November, only 36, 843 of those participants won – that’s a meagre 14% success rate. But before you get all glum and consider not entering the challenge, consider this instead: is NaNoWriMo all about winning?
The answer, of course, is no. You see, the event is more than just trying to achieve that 50, 000-word mark. It’s also about testing your abilities, seeing if you can write every day, and even just simple practice. Have you ever wanted to do that certain novel but never got round to it? Well NaNo can help. And who says the prize is achieving that 50, 000? I think for a lot of people the prize would be getting the novel started, or just having a go at something entirely different. Whatever your motivation, just get stuck in. Try and reach the 50,000, sure, but don’t sweat it if you can’t make it; don’t worry about winning.
I’ve decided participate.
Good for you. 🙂 There are two major groups in NaNoWriMo: pantsers and planners. Pantsers (seat of your pants) enjoy starting the event with no idea of the characters they’re going to use, or where the plot is going to go. Some just like beginning with a simple concept and going from there. And planners…well, planners plan.
I was a pantser when I was younger, but I never managed to get past the first few paragraphs of any piece of writing. Then when I decided I wanted to write a novel and not faff around, I succeeded, ending up with a novel which is currently in the second-draft editing process (my science-fiction teenager novel, Craft: Aftermath). But having said that, it does depend on what works for you. If you want to experiment and try pantsing your novel, then go for it. I’m not going to stop you and neither is anyone else. Having said that, whilst pantsing is okay for shorter pieces of writing, being a pantser when writing a novel could become a problem. Just something for you to think about.
How do I prepare for the big day?
This does actually vary depending on the answer you gave in the above ‘Pantser or Planner’ question, but we’ll say that pantsers are pretty much ready to go and planners need a bit more time before they begin. So how do you do it? Where do you start? Where should you get the idea for your NaNoWriMo novel from?
Well at least deciding your novel is easy, at least if you’re already a writer. Writers are going to have many ideas in their heads anyway, so just write a few down, flesh it out a bit more, add a couple of characters, and you’re all good. But what if you’re not a writer that just wants to have a go? If you fall into this category and start panicking, don’t!Just relax and remember why you’re doing it. It’s for fun, remember? Take it easy and try to think about any fun ideas that you’ve wanted to turn into a novel. If you’ve got one, then use it and begin to expand it. To do this, I recommend the Snowflake Method – it’s the one I used for my first novel (although I did change it to suit my own style) and it worked particularly well: http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php.
Yet if you don’t have an idea in your head, you might think you have a problem. Don’t think that. Instead, try to think about what you like – books, TV shows, films, magazines. Is there anything you’ve truly enjoyed and want to write something similar? Then have a try; if you fancy writing a crime novel then read articles online, or books about/around that subject. But just remember that if you’re writing to have a bit of fun and you’re not trying to get it published, then don’t freak out if your plot and character plan goes completely down the toilet hole! When I wrote my novel I’d planned for a good three months before I began, but even then some strange scenes and surprises arose from my writing. Just go with it and have fun.
Concerning the other problems you may have, a lot of the answers will be readily available on the official NaNo site, which is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/. There are forums for both worldwide and for your own region, so you’ll find what you need!
If you have any others questions about NaNoWriMo, or just want to say that you’re participating, then you’re welcome to leave a comment below, but this won’t be the final NaNo post before November! 😛 Don’t forget to Like, Share, and Follow! 😀