Let the Prepping Begin

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As October – fondly called “Inktober” by the visual artists – comes to a close, those of us wordy fellows are preparing ourselves for a massive push to write a novel in 30 days. National Novel Writing Month – referred to by the name NaNoWriMo – is looming and anyone who hasn’t made a plan (or finalized said plan) may be entering panic mode. I might be one of those people.

This is my first year venturing into the NaNo adventure, and I’m hoping for some beginner’s luck to help me see this through to the “winners circle” because I am not sure I prepared nearly as much as I should have. It might be better to just outline what I have done so far – that list is certainly easier than the one that details what I should have done.

I started by logging into my NaNoWriMo account (which I created ohhh two years ago) and “announcing” my novel. What this consisted of was my creating a title and a genre for the work I plan to do during this year’s event. I’m already hemming and hawing over the title, but I keep reminding myself that the title isn’t what’s important right now and to stay focused.

Next steps, I had to identify writing days because I am very much aware that life can get in the way and I need to make sure I protect my writing times during November. The average number of words a NaNo participant needs to write per day is 1,667 words a day to stay on track and I already know that there are two days a week I can’t write, which means that the remaining five days a week I have to maintain at least 2,272 words a day in order to make the goal. That’s a pretty steep curve I have – when I was trying to maintain my word counts for meeting my deadline for the short story contest I was only aiming for 300 words per day over the course of  two weeks, and found that I had a hard time keeping up with that low goal.

I had a minor panic when I considered how many words a day I needed to write and after breathing rapidly into my imaginary paper bag I sat down and drafted a rough outline for my novel. Ultimately I don’t want to stress more than I have to when it’s time to start editing so I came up with a way to keep my novel bite sized and manageable for editing. I had a much easier time editing my short story than I had expected, so I planned out eleven chapters that will sit around 4,000 words each. Each chapter has a specific function for the story (Chapter one, introduce the characters and the world, chapter three is where I plan to introduce the antagonist and the related tension, and so on).

So now I have my novel announced, my story idea is defined, and I have a rough outline to work with. In theory this is a pretty good place to be, but today I looked at my outline and realized it’s a shell, and I need a whole lot of meat to fill in the blanks and I have ten days to get that done.

So with a deep breath, and some determination I am going to just put one foot in front of the other and see how it goes. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on how each week goes.

In the meantime I’d love to hear about your experience with NaNoWriMo prepping? Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com

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