NaNoWriMo feels like a competition, a competition against yourself. An urge to write flows into your veins and suddenly, the adrenaline starts. It’s like an athletic competition, except that you are sitting in front of your computer the whole time and the only cramp you may have are in your fingertips. But like a sports competition, you need to prepare, stretch, practise, be ready. It’s a marathon and you need to know how to run, to run a long distance of 50,000 words.
If you don’t want to feel like crawling into a mud bath, prepare your creative mind with this 6 step to-do list.
How does it work? Subscribe to The Metaphorist and comment in the section below your interest in participating to the list. We well then assign the list to you and you can check when things are done!
This method is to stimulate you and give you clear objectives for the few days left before November arrives : that way, you will be ready to write your big project and skip the preliminaries that we tend to forget while commencing NaNoWriMo. This will help you become independent and solid in your planning, as well as eliminating all the unnecessary troubles that blocks your path! With a detailed plan, no time for the writer’s block in this marathon!
1. Brainstorm of ideas
Relax and think with a pen and paper. Visualize your story. Take a deep breath. Now… write it down, all of it, all of your ideas, in one big block, or a long list, don’t omit anything, a simple detail can be the key to your story, trust your imagination, every idea is good, it’s how you treat it that matters, write, write, write!
Once it’s done, take a step back. Maybe take a coffee break or a walk. When your mind is clear again, go back to your ideas and start creating links between them. Cross out those that don’t work and circle the important ones.
2. Write your storyline in a 1 to 2 page summary
Now that you have a fair idea of your plot line and the universe of your future book, construct your idea in a linear way. By writing your story in a long summary, it helps you see the flaws of your project. This is the first step of actually writing your book. Rewrite your summary till you are satisfied with it. The essential is to capture the big lines of your future novel and the base of your world/characters.
3. Establish your plan
After the last step, you know your project better : it’s starting to take form. But to really grasp your novel, you need to make a detailed plan. Some writers don’t work with a plan as specific, but I think it is necessary for the NanoWriMo challenge, since you don’t have the time to think about it while writing.
Insert every story element, character development, and knowledge revealed. If wanted, divide your story into chapters or fragments. Be careful for each beginning and ending. Proceed till the end of book and don’t hesitate to revise and revise again and again.
4. Create sheets for characters, places, systems, etc.
Now that your story is complete, create reminder sheets for each important character, place or even systems (especially if sci-fi or fantasy). That way, if you don’t remember a detail (blue eyes, brown eyes?) you just need to quickly look for your sheet. It helps by keeping your information constant in your novel. Try out our character sheet template!
5. Test your writing style
Everything seems ready. The ideas, the plan, the characters. How can you be more prepared? Test your writing. Will you write with the first person? Will it be a fast-paced book? How will you describe the surroundings? What style fits best for your project? You can’t always know this right away. The best advice I can give is to try it out by small fragments. You will know what feels right, but just to make sure, when you have identified your style, practise it a little more to be certain you master it. When writing quickly, you don’t want to be stuck with styling problems at the beginning of your challenge.
6. Plan your NaNoWriMo Month
The best step of all, the schedule planning! It is so motivating to establish your day-to-day writing challenges to achieve the famous 50,000 words. The easiest way is to divide the 50,000 by 30 days, but we all know it is hard to write every day if you have a job or you are studying. Give your days off more words than your working days. Plan stimulating activities or make a list of inspiring places to write in your neighbourhood. Maybe give yourself chapter goals instead of word goals. If your novel is 40,000 words when completed, the challenge is a success, in my opinion!
We hope this 6 steps will help you. Don’t forget to login and ask to be assigned the list! And good luck for the NanoWrimo Challenge!