It’s October, which means it’s time to start prepping for NaNoWriMo! I have a vague idea for my novel but it still needs quite a bit of additional planning, so I gathered these resources to get me — and You! — on the right prep-path.
Launch Your Novel
The obvious first step! If you haven’t already, sign in and create your 2016 novel. You don’t have to know the title or genre or anything yet, but you’ll feel much more accomplished once the project’s created.
Find your characters
There are tons of character sheets and questionnaires out there, some of which I have listed in a previous NaNo post. If you want more, I have three choices:
- If you just want the basics without all the hassle, check out Ash’s Guide to RPG Personality and Background.
- If you want a normal questionnaire, check out these 30 Questions.
- If you want to go deeper, check out these 50 Questions (not meant for fiction characters specifically but is good practice for getting into your character’s head!).
No characters demanding to be let out? You still have time to come up with a few, or you can browse through NaNo’s Adoption Society in case something there inspires you.
Figure out your plot/theme
My place on the planner-pantser scale varies from year to year, novel to novel, but these 6 Writing Outline Templates have something for (almost) everyone. You can find tools for a very basic outline or you can go all out and map every scene.
Absolutely no idea what your plot could be? Here are 5 Ways to Generate Great Stories to help you. Or refer back to the Adoption Society.
If you’re more of a pantser but would still like some sort of guideline, you could try choosing from these common themes in literature (/movies/poetry).
Choose your community
The NaNo community is wonderful (yes, I may have said this before, just a few times) and there’s a high chance there’ll be meetings and write-ins where you live.
If you’re the sort of person who likes hanging out with other writers, you should definitely find people from your area and meet up with them. Or simply make use of the NaNo forums and chat with people there.
If you prefer staying home with less socialization, no problem! I have only ever been to two meeting and I’ve done NaNo eight times already (plus two Camps), so I know what I’m talking about. But even if you stay home, it can help to find a community of any sort — whether it’s your friends or family or pets — that will motivate you when writing gets tough.
The Right Mindset
The last and most important resource needed for both prepping and eventually tackling NaNo is having the right mindset. You can go ahead with a detailed plan, a few post-its or nothing at all, as long as you remember to have fun. NaNo is hard but also rewarding, and November is one of my favorite months because I know it’ll be full of writing.
Are you participating this year? If you already have an idea, what will you be writing about?