My first week of NaNoWriMo 2021 has gone fantastic. It’s day four and I’m already past 10,000 words. I’ve had some years of NaNo in which I just wasn’t into it, but this year I’m on fire. I think it’s because I did some planning. I created an outline with a summary of scenes, and I developed some characters I love.
I’ve constructed a simple template for each scene in my outline. It includes the following areas:
- Chapter x, Scene x
Add the appropriate chapter and scene number, but remember it’s subject to change if you add or delete scenes — which is a good sign; it means you’re tapping into your creativity.
- Working title of scene
Add a one or two word phrase to tell you what the scene is about.
Example: Haunted Hearse (this acts as a reference of what happens in the scene. My characters are after a haunted hearse in the first scene of the first chapter.)
- Questions to Research
As I write, I may realize I need to do some research. I record them here so I can get the questions out of the way and come back to them later.
Examples from the first scene in my book:
When do cows return to the barn?
Is the car in that Stephen King novel a hearse?
Find out more about the Hearse of Sleepy Hollow Kentucky.
Find out more about saytrs.
Under here, I record ideas I may have for a scene before, during and after I write the scene. If I am driving and I think of ideas for different things to include in a scene, I’ll record it here when I get a chance. When I am actually writing the scene and I come up with an idea, but don’t know what to do with it yet, I’ll just store it here. Even once I move on to other scenes, If I think of an idea to add to the earlier scene, I can record and come back to it when I rewrite.
Examples from one of my scenes:
wanktastic — use this as a curse by either Jett or Knob
Work on Aloe’s dialogue
Have Jett give examples of Rhisk’s screw ups
Before actually writing the scene, I’ll look over my ideas and write a one or two paragraph summary of the scene.
Rhisk is waiting for the appearance of the Watford Hearse. It’s a mysterious black hearse that speeds through the Watford township at ridiculous speeds. Watford is a neighborhood of the small city of Junction. It has almost hit pedestrians and other cars. It is a nuisance. Road spikes, guns, other methods have been used to try and stop it, but it survives every attempt. The township leaders came to the conclusion the hearse is supernatural in power because there is no way it could take a beating like it does and keep going. It even goes too fast for a hearse. So they called Legendaries International to stop it.
This is where I do the actually writing. I try and touch everything from the ideas and the summary. I call it ‘layering’ because I’ll usually write just the dialogue and action and layer in other elements like description, inner monologue and backstory. Read more about layering here. You don’t have to call it ‘layering’; you can call it ‘narrative’ or something else.
The first mistake Rhisk Pantelis made was to remain in human form. The mission had started a couple hours ago in the early evening.
He kept his feet bare as he sat on the tree branch just in case he needed to transform. But tonight he felt like remaining in human form. Maybe it was the he was just rebelling against his ancestors. Maybe it was that he was just more comfortable this way. Maybe it was the cool breeze and the chirping crickets. Who knew…
And so on.
I insert a page break page between each scene. And one more thing: you can include every word you write for each item in your word count. Yes, your list of ideas and your summary. Everything helps. And this can be used for non-NaNoWriMo projects, too.
Here are some links to some articles on writing I’ve read lately: