It’s October and for a lot of people that probably means that the fall has started or perhaps the last quarter of the year. The dark days leading up towards Christmas and the new year. But for people like me October means Nanowrimo prep month.
Well, maybe you’re one of those people who’ll grab their computer, laptop, tablet or notepad on November first and start writing, but in general I think that most writers who are going to participate in Nanowrimo choose to do some type of preparation. And really preparation could basically mean everything, for a large part the type of preparation depends on the person doing the prep. As long as you’re not actually writing the story, that is of course. Since that would be against the rules of Nanowrimo.
I get that a lot of people won’t understand the concept of Nanowrimo. So let me explain it to you. Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, it was started back in 2001 – I think, by a group of friends who always said they would write a novel one day. It started in LA but spread through the US in the following years hence the ‘National’ part of the title. Nowadays Nanowrimo is a worldwide event but the name was set. The plan is to write a 50 000 word novel during the month of November.
You challenge yourself, there is no real control that you’re actually writing the novel during the month. What’s the point in lying about it? But that is also the thing that a lot of people don’t understand. But look at it from this angle, you have a story which you would really want to write down some day. However each and every day there are things you need or have to do. You have to go to school, get an education. Go to your job to earn money, take care of your family. Be part of life itself.
Let’s be honest there are a lot of things you want to do ‘one day’ … but actually getting to them is something completely different. I guess that we need a reason to do it, we need to set time aside to actually sit down and do it. And that is why Nanowrimo is perfect. You challenge yourself to write 50 000 words during the month, you sit down and you do it. Because you want to reach that deadline at the end of the month.
Will you finish your story? You might, well at the very least you write your story down and you might get from the start to the middle and reach the end within 50 000 words. But you also might realise that you are not even nearly finished when the end of the month is approaching. It al depends on your work, your story. At least by the end of November you will have partly or a completely written first draft of your very own novel! Will it be any good? Honestly? Probably not. A novel needs a lot of work, this is only a first draft, it needs editing and rewriting. But you did it! You wrote that story you wanted to write one day. And you are not alone, you are part of a large community with people who have the same dream!
But for now it’s October and like I said October means prep month. In my case prep month means that I want to figure out my storyline. This year, my story is completely fresh … I have written fanfiction three years in a row. In that case you’re characters and setting are already made. So a basic idea is more than enough to know. These past two years I wrote an original story, but it was something that had been playing through my mind for quite some time before I actually started on it. The first year I just started writing it, the same way I used to write fanfiction and while I did make it through the 50 000 words it became very clear to me that I had to do a lot of work on my story. So I took my time and with the same basic idea and characters I wrote a new version of my story. With a lot more preparation I started confidently writing and I think that the second version is a lot better than the first version of the story in fact, that one can pretty much disappear into a bin never to be looked at again. However that doesn’t mean that the second version is good … it’s better but it still needs work. But the project has been pushed aside for the last year.
I needed to start on something fresh so I’m writing – well preparing to write a completely new story. I’m setting up the storyline – with the help of Katytastic videos. The one below has been particularly helpful for me.
And I´m thinking about my characters, what do I want them to look like and who are they. What do they stand for and what is their goal in the story. I´m casting so to speak my main characters for my story. I like to use actors for my characters because you have a clear image of what they look like and knowing that makes it easier for me to describe them in my story.
I´ve also been writing down note, lots of notes in my notebook and on my tablet. I´m making my storybible so to speak.
The last thing I have done so far is ajust my website. It needed to fit my new story.
Are you going to participate in Nanowrimo? Do you use October to prepare for Nanowrimo or are you just going to start writing once November starts?