Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How I'm Planning for NaNoWriMo

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Okay, NaNoWriMo starts in less than a week now. So how, you ask, am I preparing for the plunge? Well, I'm trying to keep the planing to a minimum. Over planing can take all the fun out of the writing process, plus if you spend too much time preparing a story before you start writing than the story may become too important to you. That sounds like it should be a good thing, but really it's not. Remember when I talked about Exuberant Imperfection? In order to succeed at writing a novel in 30 days you need to be willing to mess up and write a complete mess, while rejoicing in your own writing flaws. That is the only way you will finish your rough draft and still have you sanity in the end. If a story line become too important to you than you won't be willing to put it all on the line. You will never finish the story.

So, rule number one when planning for NaNo: Plan all you want, but plan on changing your plans. Also, don't get too detailed in your outlines and character profiles. Let the details just flow off the page when you are writing. That is the fun part.

One suggestion that Chris Baty made in his book, "No Plot? No Problem!", was to spend only one week outlining and planing your novel before you start writing it.  This way you don't have time to get too attached to your plot. If you write it and it turns out to be no more than a pile of poo than you have not lost anything more than a weeks worth of meddling.  I sort of ignored this little tip and started planning out my novel a whole month ahead of time. Well, guess what happened. I started thinking about my story too much. I became too invested in it. It got to the point that I was afraid to write it because I was afraid of messing up. So now that plot is thrown out the window because I know that I will NEVER get it written at this rate.  So I've started fresh with a brand new idea that may not be able to hold water. But it is a story none the less. One I won't cry too much about if it decided to jump off a cliff.

So, how am I actually going about my outlining process?  Well, this year I am using yWriter 5 by SpaceJock, an amazing free program that helps writers organize their stories in a very user friendly way which allows the writer to focus on just writing and not worry about the technical side of things.  You can download the software here: http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html

yWriter allows you to divide your story up into chapters and scenes and then move them around as you change the order of your story. It also has good fields for writing character, scene and item information. I can't even begin to explain everything on it. I urge you to go check it out for yourself. It is 100% free, no strings attached. You've got nothing to loose.

I am creating a very simple outline within yWriter but then I am writing my actual story in Microsoft Word (yWriter doesn't have spell check :p). I will then paste my story into yWriter so that I can organize it anyway I want. yWriter also keeps a running word count which is great if you are keeping track for NaNoWriMo.

So go check it out. I'll continue to update you on how well it works for me.

Peace and Joy,

Miranda Joy


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