Welcome to National Novel Writing Month

Alright you Bloggers of Interweb, you Writers of the Weekend Novel, it’s finally here: the world’s most organized excuse to try and focus on that goal you began your year/decade/lifetime with, National Novel Writing Month. If you’re like me, you’ve always imagined Your Novel the way some children imagine a future spouse: here, but not necessarily with a face or a personality, just a whole lot of laughing montages and closeness and ugly ties for Christmas.

I don’t know what my real goal is for this project, which I imagine puts me in the same place I found myself when I ran a marathon. That is to say, I only aim to finish. Any other positive side effect will be just that, and maybe I can make some sense of it during another month. Running and writing aren’t really all that different, I believe; when you do either, there are familiar joys and pains. Eventually, in running and writing alike, you reach a plateau, or you become estranged from the hobby, but you always remember it fondly. And you always come back. 😉

NaNoWriMo in particular couldn’t be any more akin to completing a marathon. If you were hazy on the goals of the challenge, writers have a word goal of over 1,500 words a day while they are participating in the 30-day, self-administered writing boot camp. If novelers are looking to hit the word goal of 50,000 words that make up this month-long challenge, a minimum of 1677 words a day is recommended. So the challenge is a long race, and not a power activity. Stamina is far more important to success in this race than speed. So get ready to do it all night, you crazy pen-wielding and laptop toting artists.

As part of my warm-up for NaNoWriMo–which is important in running, too, if all this talk of logging miles has got you feeling like you want to slip on the Nike Frees and go for a quick 3 mile jaunt–I’ll be writing some suggestions that I’ve been compiling. You can stay tuned in, or you can tweet me your suggestions, or you can just check out this kind of cool-looking calendar that I found and have printed and put on the fridge. Either way, may the force be with you.

NanoWriMo Calendar

Day One

For those writers looking to try something a little different, Novlr‘s Kickstarter campaign is over, and the beta product is out and ready to play with. On Day One, if you haven’t done it yet, I would start with an outline.

Start yourself a blog for the project, too; that could be fun for posterity, and may help keep you creatively well-oiled and limber.

Whether you’re coming back to it, or you’re starting for the first time, a novel outline is like a grocery list for your verbal Frankenstein. Use it to make sure you don’t forget some of the major parts to your monster. This is not cute or adorable or printable, but here’s what I’ll be using:

Name of Novel: Your Mom Loves This D***
Characters: Obviously, it’ll be me and your mom. And you. You can watch. In fact, try to look away.
Basic Premise/Summary: Your mom and I get it going, like autotune, up in this bitch. For 50,000 words. It’ll be like 50 Shades of That Ass, starring your mother and these nuts.

I. ___________________________________________________________________

How I Met Your Mother
A. ____________________________________________________________

Me
1. ______________________________________________________

We kick things off with me. I’m living in a homeless shelter. I’m a serial killer for fun, but my full-time gig is panhandling.
a. ________________________________________________

I have this dog I feed. His name is Urkel. He can open tin cans with his teeth, and I find him a vest. We mob around with amusing signs and beg for change.
b. ________________________________________________

I used to be less crazy. I talk about that.
2. ______________________________________________________

We discuss an average day, and it leads seamlessly into the corner I was posted up on when I first met your saucy beast of a mother..
B. ____________________________________________________________

Your Mom
1. ______________________________________________________

Your mom doing pilates. Practicing how to twerk in front of the mirror after she puts you on the school bus. She’s like Madam Bovary in yoga pants. She’s a sexy, complicated flower. And she makes this awesome casserole. And she knows every word to Tupac’s third and Stevie Knix’s second album.
2. ______________________________________________________

How did she get here? What’s her backstory? Don’t get too into into, because she’s the Bonney to my Clyde, and we don’t want to give her too much play.
C. ____________________________________________________________

This joke is wearing thin, but you get where I’m going with it.
1. ______________________________________________________
a. ________________________________________________
b. ________________________________________________
c. ________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________
D. ____________________________________________________________
1. ______________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________

II. __________________________________________________________________
A. ____________________________________________________________
1. ______________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________
B. ____________________________________________________________
1. ______________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________
3. ______________________________________________________
C. ____________________________________________________________
1. ______________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________
a. ________________________________________________
b. ________________________________________________
c. ________________________________________________
d. ________________________________________________
III. __________________________________________________________________
A. ____________________________________________________________
B. ____________________________________________________________
C. ____________________________________________________________
1. ______________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________
D. ____________________________________________________________
E. _

You can also take advantage of those models that you used in elementary school, as funny as that sounds. Remember how that little mountain from school? That might work for you, too.

The interwebs are full of resources. Make Google work for you as you're planning your novel!

The interwebs are full of resources. Make Google work for you as you’re planning your novel!

Some people have really character-driven stories, and for these people, a character model might help. Duolit offers some awesome worksheets on so many subjects, and character models are one of them. So check those out if you’re interested.

Here’s a gazillion writing resources for any interested parties, like the Breakout Novelist worksheets, which you can download as a PDF here and here.

Looking for prompts? This Tumblr offers a few. Something that I use year-round, although I mostly don’t, is Poets & Writers The Time is Now, which sends weekly prompts via email. You can check these out or sign up for those here…so there.

Okay, kiddos; that’s all I got for now. I have some actual deadlines to deal with before I start writing for funsies, so I guess I’ll see you all in The Zone. 😉 Good luck regulating all that inspiration that’s no doubt circulating in that fish-bowl of a brain of yours. Speaking of “regulators,” I’m gonna let Warren G play me out…

For Day Two, we’ll talk more about strategy and see what some other writers have done to find inspiration (and success). Yea! Now, mount up. 😉

Advertisements