It’s Halloween. And like the absolute bloody idiot that I am, I completely forgot that the day after Halloween is November 1st. You know, November. NaNoWriMo month. You might remember that last year was my first ever go at NaNoWriMo, where essentially, you write a whole novel in 30 days. I completed it, but swore to myself that next year, I’d go into it a lot more prepared.
Have I done that? Nope.
So here we are, on the last day of October, the month I loathe most of all, poised on the brink of a big question. Do I do NaNoWriMo again this year? Despite the fact I have done absolutely zero preparation?
If you’re in the same boat as me, I’m feeling your struggle. However, I did absolutely no preparation last year and still managed to come out of the other side a winner. So you know, anything’s possible!
Anyway, before I commit myself to write at least 1,667 a day for the next 30 days, here are some thoughts on last-minute NaNoWriMo prep, and why it might still be worth going for it, plotless and plan-less.
Last-minute NaNoWriMo prep plan
Ok, so I’ve got nothing. Aside from the actual 50,487-word book that I already wrote last year. My last-minute prep plan basically involves speed-reading my first draft and working from there.
I know the whole point is to write a 50,000-word novel, but it seems counterproductive to start over from scratch when I’ve got a baseline already sitting here. I’ve not really done a great deal with it since I completed last year’s challenge, so I’m going to use it as my starting point for this year.
Is this cheating? I don’t know. Frankly, I’m not that bothered either. I’ll probably end up ripping the whole thing to shreds and doing a full rewrite anyway, but I feel like I need a starting point. For one reason or another, my creative mojo has taken a hammering lately, and I’m not even sure I have a strong enough new idea to start over with.
So, where to start?
I didn’t plan them at all last time. They just came tumbling out of my head like some kind of weird, toxic lava down a swimming pool slide. They’re rough around the edges, to say the least. So my first point of order is to give them a bit of personality.
I’m going to create a brand persona for each one and then at least it’ll be a bit clearer who and what they’re about. I mean, I know what they’re about, but whether or not a reader would, I don’t know yet.
That’s if I ever let anyone actually read it.
So, characters need motivations, personalities, fears and flaws. Once I’ve plotted all that out, I can give them some darker characteristics, and think of how I can use them to build some plot twists.
Another thing I only had a very tenuous grasp of last year. I feel like I know the plot of my book, but actually conveying it properly, I’m not so sure. I used a timeline tool to help me plan out the chronology of my story last time, so I think I’m going to revisit that now.
From there I can look into the finer details of events around my timeline; this means I’ll need to do some homework on areas, items and procedures around the historical time of my events.
I’m also going to have to factor in some new things. My story is it’s own thing, but I’m not sure how predictable it is. I’ll need to revisit some of the twists I initially put in and see how twisty they actually are.
Ok, this might sound strange but one of the ways I’m going to get all this organised so last-minute is by making a novel-focused Pinterest board. It’ll have to be private for now, but I think it’ll be a great way for me to visualise my characters, settings and possible story twists.
All writers need good prompts from time to time to keep them going, so I think this could be a good way for me to keep my focus. I did think about using a bullet journal, but I think it might distract me from the actual writing itself. I could be wrong though, so we’ll see which one of these tactics works best.
This is where I make my commitment to the writing process. I’m either going to set an alarm and give myself one hour in the morning (which is when I do my best work), or designate one specific day a week to writing a big chunk.
I think the hourly sessions will be the best fit for me, to be honest. Plus, I need an excuse to get a bit more disciplined with myself anyway. Last-minute NaNoWriMo challenge, here I come.
The end goal
I always think that if I write this down, I’ll be more likely to actually achieve it, so here goes:
By November 30th I will have completed the second draft of my novel, and it will be at least 50,000 words long.
Possibly longer, who knows?
What NaNoWriMo also means is that I might go off-grid for a while in terms of blogging. Hopefully, that’s not going to be too much of an issue, and I’ll try to keep things updated here as much as I can as the month goes on.
Are you planning on doing a last-minute NaNoWriMo this year? Let me know in the comments!