November. That’s a way off, right? It’s only August right now. BUT WAIT. In reality, the first of November is just over two months away. Tomorrow, it will be two months since the UK had its referendum on membership of the EU. That seems like yesterday. So by that logic, November will seem like it’s arrived the day after tomorrow.
Putting aside my attempt to play weird games with time, November is not really all that far away. Why should we care about that?
Because that means NaNoWriMo is on its way.
For those not acquainted with it, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It happens every year in the month of November. It’s free to participate, and everyone has the same goal: Write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month. Do that and you win. What does winning earn you? The fact that you just wrote a novel. There are some special offers from sponsors as well, but the main prize is the accomplishment you just managed.
I’m bringing this up now because this could be the perfect time to start planning.
So far, I’ve done and won NaNoWriMo in both 2014 and 2015. While I gave both projects a bit of forethought, I probably leaned closer to the ‘pantster’ mode of doing things. This is the term for people who dive in without much of a plan. There are plenty who achieve great things with this mode of writing.
However, this year, I’m going to plan.
A lot of this is through necessity. 50,000 words is a challenge, but achievable. This November though, I’m going to have an additional challenge. I’m going to Bruges for four days for work, and I will not realistically be able to write while I’m away. This leaves me with 26 days instead of 30. Still achievable, but a setback nonetheless.
Enter the plan.
I want to know where my story is going in a general sense. I want to write an outline of the whole thing. Beginning, middle and end. I also want to have at least 10 chapters planned out, spaced pretty evenly through the book. I may try to stretch this to 15 chapters. Generally I aim for chapters of 2,000 words during NaNoWriMo.
That way I’ll have my course set, with some room for my characters to find alternate routes along the way. It’s nice to have some flexibility, after all. Hopefully, that will allow me to go into November with a solid framework. I’m away between the 11th and 14th. I hate playing catchup, so I want to build up a really solid buffer by then. If I’m organised, I might be able to get to 23,000 words before my trip. In fact, I’m going to make that part of my plan. That will allow me to come into the second half of November with things firmly in hand.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you going to join me in establishing a framework, or will you dive in on the 1st of November with the terrifying steed of ultimate creative freedom? Either way, best of luck to you with all your writing endeavours.
Featured image used courtesy of National Novel Writing Month. Find out more about NaNoWriMo here.