First of all, before we get into this Preptober post, I wanted to apologize for not having my usual, weekly reading and writing update up yesterday and having this blog post up later than usual. I’m Canadian so it was my Thanksgiving weekend (and still is) and I was visiting family and just did not have time to sit down and write a blog post, let alone pre-write blog posts for the week which is what I usually do. But that’s ok! I am back now with this brand new Preptober post that I hope you all enjoy 🙂
Are you prepping enough?
This is a really important question when it comes to preparing for the event that is NaNoWriMo because it has time constraints and a massive goal surrounding it…and because of that, you don’t have the time to continue outlining in November because that is the time you need to spend writing your story! So, to make sure your prepping doesn’t get carried out in November, here are some tips and tricks and things to keep in mind during Preptober.
Sit Down and PLAN
Sit down with your notebook right now (well, after you finish reading this post!) and plan out your characters, world, history, plot, and the overall synopsis of your story. Just sit down and go through all of that, making as much progress as you can in each section. Those are 5 things that you MUST have in-depth, detailed planning for otherwise, you will still be planning in NaNoWriMo.
I recommend having at least 2 pages of information for each character, like AT THE VERY LEAST. This will include their age, race, family, likes/dislikes, personality, past, etc, etc. When you plan out the world and the history, I recommend planning it out like it is a book that is going to be read in schools across the world. However, remember that you are always, always going to know more than your readers, so if you have a lot of info about your world and its history, don’t freak out about trying to fit that all into your story…no, no, a lot of that is just for you so you can write the best story ever. With your plot, this is where you can tweak things depending on the type of writer you are. If you are a plotter, you are going to have pages of plot and like, every scene plotted and connected to others. If you are more of a pantser like me (although, I have been forcing myself to plan a lot for this project), then you are going to want to just have enough to get you through your story. I recommend having a good idea of the beginning, middle and end, and how all those parts are going to connect. These are all super important things to plan, and you need to make sure you plan all of this otherwise you might get disappointed when November 30th comes around and your still several thousand words short on your project.
Okay, when you finish planning and plotting (and this does take time, like at least a whole month sometimes!), you need to figure out if you actually know what you are writing. Yeah sure, you can sit down and fill a notebook with info but that doesn’t always mean that you are ready to write your story. That is why we answer some questions about our project just to make sure. Here are some questions I ask myself:
- If someone asked me what my project was about, what would I say? How would I describe it? Do I have a good synopsis that someone who has no knowledge of my story would understand?
- How would the characters in my world react to some of the things happening in MY world? Or things that happened in my world a long time ago? What part would they have in it, or would they not have any part in it at all?
- Do I know my ending? Do I know how I am going to get there? (P.S. I don’t always know my ending, but I have noticed over the years that it really does help to have an overall idea on what that ending is…it makes for a better story and also makes it easier for you to write and edit.)
- If I had to teach a history lesson of this world I created, what would be the 5 major events I would focus on? These are the 5 major events that people in the future could not ignore or forget. How do these events affect this world now?
- If my characters were all together and witnessed someone in need (someone fell down, dropped their groceries, etc, etc), how would they respond? Who would help? Who would pretend they didn’t see it and carry on with their day? Who would just watch?
These are just SOME question ideas you can ask yourself and of course, tailor to your own story. I recommend asking anywhere from 10-15 questions because they will really test your knowledge on your world and characters to make sure you are ready for NaNoWriMo. If you have trouble answering one or two questions, maybe head back to your outline and go over what you wrote, adding whatever needs to be added so you can answer these questions!
Make a Story Bible
What is a story bible? Why do I need one? These are both very valid questions that guess what? I am going to be answering right now! So, a story bible is a handy little notebook, a piece of paper, the backside of a napkin or really whatever, that has some basic info on your story that is ready for you to access whenever. It can have the first and last names of characters, the five major historical events that affect your world, or just really anything that is necessary to your story and will be needed lots. For example, my WIP deals with lots of mythology so I have the names of some immediate gods and also character names in my little, handy notebook. It is great to turn to while writing instead of having to dig through all your notes to find whatever it is you need. It saves time and stress so make one and fill it with whatever you need.
There it is! My three major tips to make sure you are planning enough for NaNoWriMo and are chugging along on the path of success. I really hope you found this all helpful and for even more tips, check out my last Preptober blog post here where I give a quick overview on how to get ready for NaNoWriMo this year. I link a lot of great worksheets for building characters, world-building, and creating your plot so check those out! Also, make sure you check out my last blog post and social media accounts which are always linked below for more writing and reading related fun. Thanks!
Last Blog Post: October 2018 New Releases!