It seems like National Novel Writing Month 2019 was sooooo long ago ... long before a pandemic landed on my desk. So far, 2020 has been a real humdinger, but, thankfully, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. Let's escape together, in November, and let the creativity flow.
Puh-leeeease, let's escape together.
NaNoWriMo allows us writer-types to lose ourselves in a project. As I stare out my home office window at walkers (with masks) strolling by in socially-distanced clumps, I think perhaps—just perhaps—it's the perfect time for NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo 2020: let the creativity flow
Our NaNoWriMo goal? 50,000 words and a complete novel draft in the month of November.
Sounds crazy, yes, but it CAN be done. I've successfully managed it two years in a row with my women's fiction projects, "Sutton's Choice," 2018, and "Sutton's Second Chance," 2019. I've just recently pushed "Sutton's Choice," fully edited and now complete at 80,000 words, out of the nest and into the query trenches. I've never felt more productive than in the past two Novembers. The NaNoWriMo process has, definitely, upped my writing game. I LOVE the deadline and structure of preparing for this process.
Here are a few tips for getting started.
The very basic basics of preparing for NaNoWriMo 2020:
1. Create an account. Without a NaNoWriMo account, you won't really feel bound to pursue your goal. It takes only a few minutes to sign up, and it's free. Even if you choose not to follow through, the website is brimming with writing tips.
2. Set it up. Where do you want this to take place? Time of year? Whether it's a little town you've been to many times before or someplace completely fictional, write down the basics of your setting. City? Region? State? Planet? If it helps, sketch a map of the surroundings. If the setting is real, create a folder on your laptop to stash helpful links to pull facts from later, as you need them. An easy resource is the area's Visitors Bureau website, which may provide historical information and photographs.
3. Get to know your characters. Listen to the voices in your head. Create mini character profiles. Give each character his or her own page in your notebook and add potential names, appearance, age, occupation, any connection you'd like them to have to other characters, interesting mannerisms, speech patterns, how they dress, etc. This is tons of fun and can be added to before, during, and after NaNoWriMo. Through character profiles you can also get potential ideas for conflict, if you don't already have a plot in mind.
4. Create a SHORT plot synopsis. Once you've got some interesting characters to play with and a place to let them play, jot down potential "What if?" scenarios that allow your characters to interact. Which scenario interests you most? Which would be easiest to write without a lot of research (Writing within one's knowledge base may help reduce stress). Which plot idea creates the most conflict? Once you hone in on a potential plot, attempt to write a short 1-2 paragraph synopsis. Like the back cover of your favorite book, it should not be too long but with enough details to draw in a reader.
5. Glimpse the beginning, middle, and end. Whether a planner-type who takes all of October to fully prep for the big event—spread sheets, blocked off calendar, play list, 30-page synopsis, and a brand new coffee mug—or a "pantser" flying by the seat of one's drawers, try to have a general idea of how you want your story to begin, what specific actions/plot points might happen midway through the story, and some sense of what happens to end the story. In other words, what is point A and point B and what possible pitfalls will your characters see/experience when traveling down that path?
That's it, really. With the above steps, you've got a base. I can guarantee, those characters are likely to take a few wild turns, and they might even send you down a completely unexpected rabbit hole, but at least you'll have some sense of where you'd like to go. That's all you need to participate in NaNoWriMo 2020.
Frankly, it's all I had last year and the year before, so just do it. Let the creativity flow!
For more tips, check out my other NaNoWriMo posts in October/November 2018 & 2019.
Good luck and write on, NaNoWriMo folks!
#amwriting #NaNoWriMo #NaNoWriMo2020 #writingtips