Writing a novel is something I’ve wanted to do for years. It’s also something that seems incredibly difficult even if you aren’t forced into a super tight deadline. I’ve decided to dive right in (or dive write in) and use NaNoWriMo as the vehicle to finally do it. As I’ve been preparing, I’ve found some helpful tools. Here are 3 great resources to prepare you for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
One idea after another for writing has crept into my brain since I finished reading a book for the first time when I was 25. I’ve considered ideas like a theology book on the idea of killing our sinful desires titled, I Want You To Hate You. Harsh, I know, but probably something that would garner attention.
I’ve gone through phases where I would write a half dozen or so haiku on the subway ride home every day. There were times where every day was brainstorming for that one transformative idea for a book, either fiction or nonfiction. For the last 5-6 months it’s been about pushing out one blog post a week right here.
Now, I’m taking the plunge and writing Stilltopia. Influences come from people like Philip K. Dick, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley as well as reformed Christian theology. It’s set in the near future on a newly built planet where most of Ray Kurzweil’s futuristic predictions have happened. The premise is that there is neither utopia or dystopia, but stilltopia, the idea that no matter how the world advances, we are still ultimately human.
3 Great Resources to Prepare You for NaNoWriMo
As we are halfway through October, I wanted to share 3 resources that have really helped me prepare for writing my first novel. Much like the various resources I’ve used for blogging, I’ll probably take bits and pieces and craft them into something that better fits me personally. Even so, there’s plenty to learn from here.
Develop Your Initial Idea
I’ve found the blog, and several of the resources, at The Write Practice to be immensely helpful. David Safford gives a 7 point process for discovering who your characters are and what the protagonists goal is. If you don’t know who you’re writing and what they’re trying to do, then you don’t have a story.
Learn From Those Who Have Done It
KM Weiland is a published author with several fiction books as well as book and workbooks on improving your craft. She has completed NaNoWriMo before and used her expertise to give us 11 steps for outlining before November rolls around and the writing begins. There aren’t many resources better than a writer who specializes in helping other authors and has participated in NaNoWriMo herself.
Develop A Writing Habit
This is probably the most difficult, and most important, part of the process. Sitting down to write every day can be a huge challenge. Where do you get ideas? How can you find the time? What happens when you forget?
A couple of months ago I joined Jeff Goins 500 Words writing challenge. I haven’t written every day, but I am far more consistent and now have habits that work for me. I know where and when I’ll write most of the time. After much trial and error I’ve got the tools I’ll most likely use for the near future. NaNoWriMo will be a big step up with an average of 1667 words per day needed to accomplish the 50,000 word goal. The hope is that having something in place will help immensely as the required output triples.
What Are You Going To Do About It?
Sure, there’s more. The tools you use are definitely important. Ultimately, you have to develop a plan and execute it. What resources have been best for you? Do you have any suggestions for outlining and preparing for NaNoWriMo that have made things easier for you?
My NaNoWriMo dashboard for those who want to follow along.