NaNoWriMo 2016 is only a month away and we, the writers, have only this month to whip our story idea or thoughts into shape before the fated day 1 of writing 1,667 words a day commences. Every year I’ve approached November 1st a little differently. I chuck out what didn’t work the year previous, keep or tweak what did, and add new ways of making the ride smoother. This will make Year 4 and I have accumulated a battle plan that past me attempting NaNo would have paled at. First off I am keeping meticulous notes in a handy dandy Project Planner. Then I’ve captured writing and outlining techniques from everywhere, including but not limited to Katytastic, and Pinterest.
In addition to my Project Planner, I have the infamous, Ready. Set. Novel. (which I will be using to help outline within my Project Planner and not in the actual book itself. That way I can keep the book forever as a template.) The No Plot? No Problem! guide by Chrisy Baty himself, and a series of writing reference which includes Fantasy Fiction Formula. (I haven’t yet read through this, but it received so many wonderful reviews that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own it.)
Week 1: (October 1-7) Focus On Novel Setup: (How To Prepare For NaNoWriMo)
Honestly, I’ve been slowly gathering notes for my story, which I have dubbed, The Countess, over the past week. Today, I have started putting those notes and sub-notes into my writing software, Scrivener. (Seriously, we talk about Scrivener every year and I even gave it its own blog. You REALLY need to check it out!) I’ve added many more notes and have begun to organize them all along with other detail work with the help of How To Prepare For NaNoWriMo By The Write Life. (Which was tweeted out by Better Novel Project.) I will also start actually using “Ready. Set. Novel.” along the way.
Week 2: (October 8th-14) Focus on How Problems Get Solved In The Middle. (How To Prepare for NaNoWriMo)
This is week two and if you are like me, then you are already feeling the pressure of having your story down. These past weeks I’ve been writing and gathering and writing (did I say that already), but I feel like I’m still getting nowhere.
I have devised a plan. I have like 5 to 6 different ways to map out an outline. Right now I’m using all of them. My plan is to combine them all to create one, Super Master Outline. To many of you that might seem like more work than any project really calls for, but for me, each one of these methods eventually gets filled in anyway.
By taking the time, in the beginning, to combine them and then fill them out I’ll better be able to see how each part of the story stacks upon each other straight away, rather than trying to piece it all together after each method is filled in or after the story is fully written.
The ideas are continuously coming and I’m slowly (too terribly slowly) starting to connect how this all might work out. I feel confident about my new approach to my outline, but an odd thing that helped today with the doubt train was changing the title.
I know the title is such a trivial thing to worry about, especially this early in the game. However, when coming up with a new story idea the title has always been the first thing that pops to mind and from the title, the story followed. Many of you might be aware of how long I struggled to even come up with a story idea in time for NaNo Prep this year, especially those of you who follow me on Twitter.
The idea is all taken very loosely from our very own, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, and so naturally I dubbed the title “The Countess”. I’ve always believed that a name holds a certain measure of power for its owner and naming novels is no different. I haven’t been fully in love with this story from the beginning, especially seeing as I forced myself to come up with something in time for the season.
Once I started prepping the outline and the world building, the title, “The Countess” quickly became obsolete because of how the hierarchy of royalty works in the world I’m creating and it wasn’t until today that a better named presented itself. (Honestly, I was just bantering back and forth with myself today as I was jotting down a few notes and was like, ‘HA! Once a Bathory, always a Bathory.’ Then I was like, ‘ha, hey that a good title… oooh that really is a good title.) I was sold and immediately began to write, “Once A Bathory” on each new page of notes. For some reason, the new name has given me more of a boost and more confidence in the story I want to tell.
Otherwise, I’m hard at work filling in the blanks, creating more characters, filling the world, and the story before November 1st. If you would like a detailed list of all the outline methods I’ll be mashing together for my Super Master Outline, then please leave a comment below that voices your wishes and I will comply. Happy writing.
October 28-Final Days:
Somewhere between Week 2 and now, I lost all ability to acknowledge the story I was trying to plan for NaNo this year. I read through the prep portion of “No Plot? No Problem!” and learned two things. First, how to store a few vegetables in the refrigerator so they stay fresh for longer and, two, that I shouldn’t be trying to write the concept I was currently outlining.
Much like novice sailors, we were sailing out to sea on an already sinking ship.
No Plot? No Problem!
I know, what I got from the book was pretty much the exact opposite of what it was trying to do. I don’t blame the book or Chris Baty for that matter. The book did nothing wrong and is now proving to be my only lifeline at this moment.
October was closing in and I still had no idea of what I wanted to write for NaNoWriMo 2016 and so I clashed together a few ideas that had been plaguing me as a, “why not” attitude. I have always wanted to write an Elizabeth Bathory story and so I took that idea and hurriedly turned it into something I don’t love, don’t feel motivated to pursue, and into something that has made me disappointed.
The story turned into something highly loosely based off of Elizabeth Bathory and technically has hardly anything to do with her at all. This was never the Bathory story I wanted to tell and so I’ve decided and have blurted, “SCREW IT!”
I am taking Elizabeth out the story entirely and have toyed with the idea of taking last year’s story, Reap Life, (which was never finished even thought I hit the NaNo end goal) and do a complete rewrite. However, at the same time, I’m also thinking that I’ll take the outline I was working on this year and roll with it anyway. Eventually, I want to bring all of my story ideas to completion, even if most of them never make it beyond the first draft. One way or another this story will eventually get written.
Either way I decide, I’m going into NaNo this year with something close to nothing. I haven’t done that since year 1 and that did not go at all well. But once again I’m saying, “SCREW IT!”. I will work every day for the complete 30 days and accomplish what may. It’s not often that I let the universe do what it may without fighting it. I have the motivation, but not the energy and no matter what I’m not going to give up.
From now until November 1st I’ll be working on other things, getting a few things wrapped up and then I’ll dive in! The technicalities can all be worked out later. I can’t promise how often, but I will be back after the 1st with more NaNo updates. Happy Writing.
The adrenaline is up, the hype is real, and the thoughts are flowing. I wish everyone a smooth Prep-Tober month. I will be back every so often with small updates on how the planning is going. You will be able to see when I have updated by following my Twitter account.