Hi lovelies. I’f you’re like me, you can’t ‘pants’ a novel – that is, write one by the seat of your pants. I have to know where my novel is going so that I can actually see the end – I’m a ‘plotter’. With NaNoWriMo around the corner, I’m going to share some tips on how I get ready for the event.
1. Tell someone about the novel.
Tell someone. Anyone. Your mum. Your dog. The neighbour’s visiting cousin. When I start to verbalise something that is only an idea, parts that didn’t fit before seem to fall into place. The climax that has been eluding me, for example.
2. Write down every fleeting bit of inspiration.
I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go in case I think of something awesome. I need to write it down before I forget, and some time in the future wonder, ‘what was that awesome thing I thought of that solved several problem but now I can’t remember?’
3. Find a template that works for you.
By ‘template’ I mean a plan. I use a three-act plot of inciting incident, act one, act two (with a point of no return halfway through), act three, and climax. That’s what works for me – of course, there is room in there to be flexible. I don’t plan every single thing – sometimes my entire act is based on a single image. I’ve tried planning using a Hero’s Journey template, but so far that’s only worked for another WIP, not my current NaNoNovel.
4. Sort out inspiration beforehand.
I make a playlist for my NaNo time. I put my earplugs in, and then I can write straight for two hours to get my words done. Last year it consisted of only one song, because Nightwish released their single Storytime at the beginning of November and I’d been starved of new Nightwish music for a while. This year I’m turning to game scores – I like to use instrumental music because it’s less distracting, but it can’t be something I’m too familiar with or I’ll stop writing to listen and pretend I’m some amazing violin maestro. Game and film scores are really great for me because they’re not meant to be the focus of their media and are often understated yet beautiful.
5. Find someone to write with.
Competition can be healthy. Sometimes. Usually in the writing world it’s not. You don’t want to compare you cover or sales figures or the amount of words you write every day to someone else all the time. During November, it’s OK to be competitive with your wordcount. On the other hand, don’t let the fact that someone else is writing 50K a day (as I believe happened in my first NaNo) get you down. Their word count doesn’t matter: only yours does.