If I’m remembering correctly, last year I learned of NaNoWriMo late September. You can imagine the articles I read, and the YouTube videos I watched trying to wrap my head around the idea. So, I had very little time to formulate much of a plan before October hit. Throughout October of 2013 I spent my free time trying to come up with a great idea to do for NaNo, and then the later end of October getting a half formulated structure together in time to start writing that November.
Even as I wrote, I built upon my minimal planning from the previous October, and as I gained substantial amount of notes and charts and outlines, I still managed to stay on top of my word count… for a while. For circumstances and reasons not to be embellished I did not win NaNo last year. Sad, bummer, I know!
This year, however, I am back with a vengeance, more determined than ever to be the most prepared person in the history of NaNo for the beginning of the challenge on November 1, 2014. I don’t quite remember how all of that planning and energy turned into a great outline or notes and detailed analysis of my characters and their world, but I do remember being highly proud of myself that I was able to lie the story out the way I had. This year, I’ve decided to take a completely different approach to mapping out the story for NaNoWriMo. Which is crazy! Why is it so crazy to try a new approach? Well I’ll tell you!
For November’s writing challenge I’m not starting with a fresh new idea for a 50,000 word novel. Oh, no honey. I am continuing the novel I have been writing for about seven months now. I need to get my novel moving along something fierce and NaNo is going to help me do that, but here’s the thing. The way I’ve been outlining and writing my novel has been working for me well over the past months. I even did a series on the entire ordeal about my whole process here on WordPress.
My plan was simple, genius really, but what plans in the beginning aren’t? I would wrap up the chapter I was currently writing for my novel in progress and just plan out the next 10 chapters for NaNoWriMo. Piece of cake, right? WRONG! How how incredibly wrong I was on how this was all going to play out.
I didn’t keep to my usual novel outlining techniques I had become accustomed to. You see, I needed a more structured approach for NaNoWriMo 2014. I needed a clear goal to goal, deadline to deadline attack. So, as I had already slipped into this conversation, I decided to plan out 10 chapters to be the home base for my 50,000 words this November. But here’s the catch, I have never planned my stories ever before by chapters. This is whole new territory for me.
My 1st chapter for NaNoWriMo will be my 9th novel chapter, and so I busted out my note cards and wrote down one chapter on each card, 1-10 or 9-18 depending on if you were counting by NaNo chapter or novel chapter. I wrote up a synopsis of each chapter on the note cards I have and arranged them by setting. At least three chapters at a time will happen within the same setting. Once I decided what will be happening in each chapter, according to what I want to happen at a later date in the story I started with this first and wrote out several scenes that would possibly happen in that chapter.
Now here is where I grossly miscalculated. After gathering as much scenes as I thought the chapter could handle, which chapter 9 or the 1st NaNo chapter I comprised to have seven scenes, I began taking each scene and detailing it more as a skeleton outline. It’s the skeleton outline that has taken longer than I thought it would. I have barely started on the skeleton outline for scene two of the 1st NaNo chapter and if going by my schedule I was supposed to start detailing out chapter 10 or the 2nd NaNo chapter and then have that done within three days.
Looks like I’ll be cramming filling out the rest of the skeleton outline for the 1st NaNo chapter before starting on the 2nd NaNo chapter. But let me tell you this. I will no longer take two days to arrange the cards, right the synopsis, and come up with suitable scenes. No all of that will be happening on the first day and the skeleton outline for each chapter will be taking up the last two days… that is, if I can ever catch up.
I hope all is going well for your NaNo Prep this October. Please join in on the 6th for more updates of how my planning is going and how I’m keeping sane.