NaNoWriMo 2018: week 3 sees my tricks for overcoming doubt used to good effect

If there’s something I know about NaNoWriMo it’s that I can do this. 50K words in a month isn’t a huge deal for me. I’m a fast typer*. What I don’t know, and looking at my previous posts, I’ve never known, is how to tell a story. So why do I do this?

NaNoWriMo 2018: week two I’m back in the groove

If the first week was all about loosing time and track, the second week is where I found I know how to do this and caught up. I’ve got a draft short story* and am working my way through the meat of my plot. I’m a little ahead of target (just as well, because I’ll lose Saturday to roller-derby).

NaNoWriMo 2018: week one gets off to a bad start

It’s that time of year again: National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo. Like last year, I’m writing something I’m plotted in the hope to get a glut of words around a story idea I can then edit into something like a novel. Last year it worked, kind of. (Final edits still pending but I’m hoping to start sending it out in January. Fingers crossed.)

NaNoWriMo 2017: Week two and I’m still not panicking

The last time I did NaNoWriMo I was panicking at this point (and enjoying myself hugely). We’re halfway through the month, take a day, and I’m 30K words in. I’m ahead: if I continue like this, I’ll reach 50K on November 24th. I still feel chill.

Doing it for real: writing a novel

OK. This is it. It is June and that was when I was going to start writing.

Plotting started in April and took a frantic turn in May. There’s still some research I need to do and a couple of character studies that need a bit more of a polish (What really drives Anna’s mum? I need to know!) but I’m in a position to start.

The starting line is an oddly scary place to be.

I’ve only just put fingertip to keyboard but I can already tell you something about the difference between NaNoWriMo and doing it for real. When you do it for real, the pressure is on. I can feel myself reining myself in even before I’ve started. The writing of this novel isn’t just about having fun but rather about creating something that I can share with the world. This is not high literature, that’s not where I’m going – not with this one – but at the end I want something that I’m not embarrassed to ask people to read. After all, the point is to share it, as widely as possible.

Here goes.

And so the plotting begins

To write a story, you need a plot. The longer the story, the more detail you need. This I have learned. I’m a somewhat seat-of-my-pants writer but am beginning to like to know where I’m going. And if I’m going a long distance – say, 100,000 words, for example – I want to have a good idea of the route. I’d get lost otherwise, I’d go nowhere, or in circles, boring my readers and myself. Since I’ve worked with this set of characters before, I know how I want them to change over the course of the book. So that’s great: character arcs are in place. The plot is another issue. I don’t have one. Or rather, I don’t have much of one. (This is what I’ve got: a chap dies and is found by our heroine. She’s put out.)

I’ve started working on the plot in a very similar way to the method I used for NaNoWriMo last year. This time I’m using a bigger piece of paper and many more coloured pens. It doesn’t look very structured and that’s OK. It isn’t. At the moment I’m at the brain-dump stage. I’ve put what little I know on a piece of paper, set out a time line and started putting in the few plot elements or scenes that I have. Hopefully, holes will become apparent and patterns will emerge. Then I can do research and generate ideas where the plot is weak. Finally, I’ll have a map. Then the writing starts.

Plotting begins in earnest. Timelines, interactions, mind-maps.
Plotting begins in earnest. Timelines, interactions, mind-maps. Sharpies!