Ahhh there much be a million and one posts of NaNoWriMo out there, I know I’ve done one before, but her we are, two days before NaNo is due to start and I still haven’t finished plotting out the novel that is going to write itself! Or that’s what I’m hoping. I’m here to shine a light on what you need to bring to NaNo. A lot of people like to be pantsers and have no plot and write as they please, that’s easy enough, right? But I can’t do it. I get stuck and that leads to not being able to write and then freaking out. Plotters are much safer, but I can get the pull away from that. So as much as I can try and pretend to be a pantser and try and explain that away. I can’t. So here you go, what you’re going to bring to nano as a plotter.
So here is how to do it. First of all you need a plot. Sure you’re thinking that’s really easy, but you have to understand that it’s not actually. Sometimes people can write books with a lick of plot and it can write like a piece of crap and read like it too. Having a plot is the glue of the story and when it dries you have a beautifully constructed piece that actually makes some sense (nothing in NaNo ever makes sense) and if it doesn’t, you have a heading of where it should be.
I should tell you, I plot with post it notes that outline points that are going to happen through out the novel, each of my chapters, I aim for about 3000-5000 words so that there is enough meat in my chapter to actually make sense. I use scrivener and on average have three scenes within a chapter so it’s nice and even, I don’t know how I got three as a number but I started to do it with my first novel Faded Fragments and kept going. So here I am about to start writing the second book in my Nexus Series and I only have enough for like 10k worth of words, if that. I need to sit down and really start to plot out but my problem is that I’ve been on the downward spiral of finishing my first novel that now this novel is hiding from me.
I don’t know what it is but it seems that creatives do their best work when they’re sleep deprived or something of the kind, so if you’re a coffee drinker you need to stock up on that. You have two days to go and actually go and stock up. Or red bull (I can’t touch that stuff anymore, ick) but whatever is your caffeine of choice, stock up on it, you’re going to need it. And food too. Because that is important.
As well as a plot, you need at least one main character, because without that you don’t really have much of a book indeed. Or a story. You need something for them to work to and obstacles that will stop them from getting there. A really good thing to bring is your imagination. And dream scenes. They are great word fillers. Also smut. That tends to be really verbose, but that’s if you’re feeling lazy and stuck. Or if you’re writing erotica…then go for all the smut you like.
Most importantly, and I figured this would be a no brainer, but you need a laptop and a power source. I mean that sounds dumb, but I’ve seen people try and hand write their way through NaNo, and I commend them for trying, but ARE YOU FUCKING MAD? NaNo is not about writing with your hands, it’s about tapping away at the keys on your laptop or computer until you’re sure you’re about wear out the keys. It’s a mad rush. It’s all about the adrenaline.
And making a writing habit out of it.
Do you know how many times I have had people ask me how I keep writing? Besides, in the past, keeping up an RPG site that I was required to write a post to daily, if possible, NaNo is what keeps me going. I am mad with the need to keep writing and I can go and binge on writing, pump out 75k in a week and a half no problem. I work better under some pressure but I have a routine of needing time away too. Writing habits are easy to talk about but hard to stick to, although it’s now a part of my every day that writing is second nature to me. I can write a story if I find the write music without too much effort, but that’s because I know what I’m doing. I know how I work and what I need to work. Can you say the same?
I challenge you to get to know yourself over the next two days and see what you can do when it comes to writing and how you work. It’ll help you when it comes time to start. I promise you. Let me know in the comments how you think you work. I’d love to hear about it.
Ps don’t forget to actually, you know, bring yourself.