Monday, October 30, 2017

The NaNoWriMo Dash!

Countdown! Today and tomorrow are the last days for your #NaNoWriMo prep. Have you done your character sketches so you know not only what your characters look like, but what their favorite food is? What's their darkest secret? What are they afraid of? What song makes them tear up? Even if you don't use that info in the final draft, just having it gives you a familiarity with the character so you can zip-write scenes. When you're stuck on where to go next, reading a character sketch may give you an idea for a scene. Write the scene, figure out later if you want to keep it, change it, or move it. It still satisfies your word count and may lead you exactly where you need to go!

Same with your world building sketch. Even if your novel takes place in your home town, you'll need to make a note of things for easy reference- is a road closed off that could give your character a problem- that can be a scene. Is a landmark being torn down? What season is it? Has the US changed its government from republic to martial law because of an apocalyptic event? If your setting is a different time period, or on another planet, then you'll need good notes on economic, governmental, social, and other systems.

As for my outline, sometime I have one sentence for the chapter- "On their date, he discovers she's a monster." I can work those specifics out as I write- no need to outline every detail because you don't want to interrupt the creative flow and shut down all the possibilities that suddenly pop into your head but you ignore because you have 'THE OUTLINE.'

Sometimes though, you need more than one sentence, maybe several because of changing points of view, a leap in time, or a number of things that must happen in the chapter. That's good- you have an idea of what you want to write. Just remember the outline isn't written in stone. If you go off kilter and don't like what you've written- don't erase it! It counts as written words and you may use bits of it, or the scene entirely elsewhere. Plus, if you keep deleting words because they don't fit at the moment, you may never achieve your NaNoWriMo completion.

So make those notes, sharpen those pencils, X out time on the calendar. We got this!