Getting ready to write a book #nanowrimo

On Nov. 1, when I disappear for a month from my regular life, I will be writing my first novel. Being that this is new to me, I’ve been thinking about how to get ready for this journey. Luckily, I am not alone – NaNoWriMo has about 60,000 signed up so far.

When I used to write short stories, I would just sit down and let the pen take me where it would. I never planned ahead for character development or plot. Then again, planning tends to be one of my weaker points: I am impulsive, gotta have it now. If I want to write a story, I want to WRITE A STORY. Not take time to plan it first. One of the reasons I think having strict time guidelines will help me – I have nothing to do for the next week but plan.

So far I have a title, character sketches, and a cover design. I also have a plot outline that is basically a list of key scenes. But I have heard buzzes from other writers about plotting chapters and phases and timelines, oh my!

I posed the question this morning to some of my writing buddies – How is everyone else planning for plot? The responses I got were very helpful and definitely give me some food for thought:

badgerpendous @melissaoyler– In 2006 #nanowrimo I used a Scene Graph tool a coworker mentioned. Made a fancy drawing of the plot outline.

EHartshorn @melissaoyler Last year, I outlined with index cards. 1/scene, whose POV, any dialogue or special bits I wanted, whole book. Seemed to work. This year, I will be lucky to have 1 sentence per scene in my outline.

katylinvw @melissaoyler I’m doing a (got the idea=Zette’s book on #nanowrimo boards) I like not having to worry about what happens next?  … not all details, just things that i think of that i don’t want to forget – basically just my notes in order of occurance …. i downloaded the book, lots of great info

BaronessHeather @melissaoyler I was gifted with this awesome workbook and have since given it to tons of others. Great prewriting tool!

Thanks for the great tips, everyone! Downloading books, thinking of scene graphs and pondering index card run to the store as we speak!