Tell me if I’m wrong, but getting ready for National Novel Writing Month can include anything except the actual writing itself. I admit that I am itching to get started, so in the meantime, I am doing the following before November 1st:
- Creating characters: I have an Excel spreadsheet with columns for their names, goals, hangups,age, physical descriptions and more. I even Googled the meaning of their names to match their purpose in the story.
- Listing scenes: I always make a list of scenes. I know how the story begins and ends, but what about in between? As I think about my story while sitting in traffic or on the treadmill, I’ll daydream possible scenes. I make a list of them, but don’t worry too much about the exact order. I have discovered that I will move them around as I write. And when I actually start the writing, I can skip around. Who says I have to write in the chronological order of the scenes?
- Reading: I’m reading a Jim Butcher book because his Dresden series is the kind of stuff I like to write. I may emulate his writing style at first, but I hope to develop into my own style as the story progresses. Reading one of his novels right before NaNoWriMo begins may or may not get his way with words into my subconscious.
- Handwriting Scenes: Okay, if you’re really itching to write, but afraid to start writing anything else right before NaNoWriMo starts then here is an exercise to whet your appetite. Pick a favorite scene from the novel of your favorite author. Take a pen and notebook and write out the scene by hand. It sounds silly, but it’s a great way to get an author’s writing style into your subconscious. As you write, you’ll notice things: the author’s word choice; how he or she plays with sentence structure; the connotation of words.
- Reading a book on writing fiction: There are so many, but Stephen King’s On Writing will motivate you.
Good luck with NaNoWriMo. If you want a copy of the Excel spreadsheet I use to plan my novels, email me and I’ll reply with an attachment.