Every year, when I tell people that I am going to do NaNoWriMo, the response I get can vary. Some people nod enthusiastically and then ask, “What’s that?” Some say “OK” without asking for further information. And some ask, “Why?”
I usually do NaNoWriMo to help me get a quick and dirty first draft of a novel. Sometimes, the finished product (or the version I publish) is very different from the first draft. Other times, there’s not too much of a difference story-wise. There could be new names or a changed setting. There could be one or two characters who disappear…or a new one who pops up. You never really know until you’ve finished and done a thorough read-through.
No death this time
This year, I’ve decided to rethink and retackle a story I started last year and set aside. The original version of it started with the death of a child and was very heavy. Since another book I’m woking on also deals with death (a man who has lost his wife and daughters to a failed home invasion) I thought it best to not go down the route and start with a meet cute instead. I want to write something light this year, and Ragnar and Michaela (though I am thinking of changing her name to Chiara) will have a nice, possibly a little frothy love story.
So how am I prepping?
Well, every NaNoWriMo project should start with a plot. I told you about it already, so I won’t repeat it. But I will say that I am working on a loose outline so that I can feel free to change direction if need be. I’ve made a timeline so know how many months the story will play out over.
I’m also working on character interviews to get to know my characters better. If I know what Ragnar wants, what he is secretly afraid of…what drives him, then I know him well enough to write about him. The same goes for Michaela. Why does she end up in Matera instead of Rome, which was her original destination? Is she running from or to something? I need to know this to make sure their story makes sense.
I’ve been following Kristen Kieffer’s well-storied for a little writerly inspiration and focus. One of her recent posts on rocking NaNoWriMo has been exactly what I needed to read to remind me to plan better and to have a backup plan in case things go wonky, which can easily happen. She also has some great workbooks that have I’ve just started using to help me plan my story.
Find your tribe
So what else am I doing? Connecting with other writers who are also taking on NaNoWriMo. There’s something very nice about being part of a community of writers, especially when working on something as daunting as NaNoWriMo. I’ve connected with other NaNoWriters now–on Facebook and on the official NaNoWriMo site. Though we all write different genres, we all have common goals: we want to finish and we want to help one another do the same. We can cheer one another on, keep each other motivated and hopefully cross the finish line together.