Monday, 27 October 2014

Novel Planning for NaNoWriMo - Tips for Pantsers

If you're reading this, you're going to be participating in... NaNoWriMo. The kick-in-the-arse approach to writing a book. People who do NaNo are considered either one of two things - planners, or pantsers. Since I started NaNoWriMo, I've always been a pantser... and whilst it seems to work for me and sooo many others, it might be wise to plan a novel! I wrote Tainted Wings years ago and it is still being made because I just didn't know where to go with it, so I've decided to take control of my novel and get it WROTE. So here is my stress-free, easy-to-follow guide on how to plan for NaNoWriMo! (Note: this covers basics because, you know, I'm lazy!)

  1. Developing your world is super important because without it, you won't even know where you are. All you need to do is know the name of the world, the place where it is set, and the terrain. For keeping things easy, keep it on a realist level... make it set on Earth, in a real country, in a made-up town or city. This makes sure you can completely set up a new place with new people, new landmarks, a new history... but you don't have to set up the rest of the world. New races could be made, and in fact, they could even make your story better but remember that if you want to partly-pants, you need to have some basis!
  2. Have limited main characters. This makes it easier to remember what's going on and who is who. All you need to jot down is: name, age, appearance, family members mentioned (don't say he has an Uncle Albert in Colorado in chapter one, then say he has an Uncle Alan in Colorado in chapter five).
  3. Remember the main plot! Remember the three act structure (equilibrium-disequilibrium-new equilibrium) and base it on that. State what the start it, what the character wants and what stops them getting it. If you want an interesting book, make some story arcs, sub-plots and things like that! But because we're native pantsers, remember to just remember to end all subplots and stomp out your plot just as the story dwindles. Usually at 50k words for us pantsers!
In the meantime, why not prepare your NaNo survival kit? Complete with word-writing-device of choice (notepad/smoke signals/phone/laptop), back up writing device, tea, coffee, and one-handed edibles of choice (to type as you eat). Good luck, NaNo-ers! See you at the finish line!


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