The other day I was on Twitter and noticed #Preptober trending with the people I follow.
Now, call me a total noob but I had no idea what this was so I started doing a little digging. Preptober is the month leading up to November, which is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where writers from around the globe aim to complete a novel, or 50,000 words, in one month.
This seems impossible for me. (For these reasons)
See, I am not an organized person. I am constantly losing my car keys, I do not make lists when I go to the grocery store and in college, I did not outline any of my research papers. For these reasons, NaNoWriMo terrifies me.
Could I commit to writing a full novel in 30 days? More importantly, would I be able to plot and plan out everything before November hits?
I started searching for hashtags related to NaNoWriMo on Twitter and instantly found others like me struggling with the decision to commit to 50,000 words in November. Some were asking for help with characterization or plot, while others were simply sharing their excitement. Many users were sharing tips on prepping for November and sharing resources to help track and manage time spent writing.
Having a supportive community of writers makes a difference. After seeing the kind of support that others were getting on Twitter, the goal seemed a little less daunting.
So I have committed to NaNoWriMo, which means, Preptober starts today.
(deep breath, exhale)
Here is how I am breaking down my #Preptober in order to ease into it.
Week 1 – Research and Setting the Scene
When I think of a story idea, the first thing that usually pops into my mind is a mood and setting. My novel is an urban dark fantasy set in Victorian London. To fully flesh out all of the details of this setting, I will research elements of Victorian London and tropes in urban fantasy and historical fiction so I know I am setting the right scene for my story and will meet reader expectations.
Week 2 – Character development
I want to become best friends with my characters and know their thoughts, desires, feelings, and motivations above all else. When I am reading a story and I feel like the characters are too flat and uninteresting or I don’t believe their motivations, I quit reading.
Week 3 – Identify story arcs
Here’s where I may struggle a bit. I need to know exactly where my story is headed, but with enough leeway to allow for creative freedom. I am a stubborn human and I don’t like being told what to do, even if I am the one outlining the story and telling myself where to go.
Week 4 – Sketch out scenes and chapters
Breaking down chapters into two or three sentence summaries and writing descriptions of key scenes will keep me on track. Having a higher-level picture of the entire story will help guide me when I am deep in the trenches of the story. Not only this but at this point, I plan to draft the marketing copy and find images for the cover design. When I am feeling a little lost, I can just refer back to the hook of the story to see if the choices I am making align with the selling points of the novel.
Will this work?
To be honest, I have no idea. I may find halfway through the outlining process that my story idea is going nowhere and have to start over. The important thing is that I am trying and I keep writing.
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? Do you have any tips for beginners?
Let’s help each other through this.
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