Nanowrimo Diaries: Prep Time
Nanowrimo: Day 0
Happy Halloween! I spent the day working on my sugar rush because, at midnight, the start gun went off. My Central Jersey Nano group met up at the Omega Diner, our unofficial annual kickoff party venue, at 9 p.m. for some pre-midnight brainstorming. I got some final prep work done between bites of chicken souvlaki and gallons of coffee. Then the second the clock struck midnight, everyone took to their keyboards (or pens and papers – there were actually three in our group taking this daring route). Both of Central Jersey’s Municipal Liaisons were in attendance and led the group in a string of competitive word sprints. We ended the evening a little after 1 a.m. and I left with a modest 1,100-word dent in my overall progress. Not a bad start!
Happy kickoff, everyone.
Nanowrimo: Day -1
It’s the last night before the madness begins! I celebrated Halloween a night early with friends from my writing group. We went out to dinner (in costume) and then enjoyed some drinks and dancing at a swanky local venue called Rat’s Restaurant, named after the character from The Wind in the Willow. I masqueraded as Harley Quinn, alongside Batman, an escaped prisoner, an identity thief, a black cat and a witch. 🙂
It was nice enjoying a last relatively stress-free night before Nano kicks off. And it will kick off not a minute past midnight on November 1st. My Nano region, the seriously awesome Central Jersey group, is meeting up at a local diner tomorrow night to dive into our word counts with a midnight sprint. I plan to spend tomorrow afternoon wrapping up as much outlining as I can and can’t wait to hit the keyboard running!
Happy final prepping, Wrimos.
Nanowrimo: Day -2
Today… I created character sheets for two of my main characters.
Woo! That’s all.
Nanowrimo: Day -3
Today I put on my brainstorming hat and attended Nano HQ’s virtual write-in. Basically, two Nano reps led a live Youtube brainstorming session in which they presented a number of writing prompts to do on the spot. I didn’t follow all of the prompts because I was also working on a Nano jar.
You may ask, “What is a Nano jar?” My understanding is that it is a jar or container that you fill with prompts, encouragements, rewards, or other tidbits that will help you on your Nano journey. I chose to fill my jar with slips of paper (I’ve also seen people use popsicle sticks). I put scene prompts on some of the paper slips, which I found on Apron Warrior’s blog post (this may also be the origin of the Nano jar). The prompts are meant to help unstick a stuck scene. On other slips I wrote “CANDY!” and three randomly generated words to work into scenes. To balance the candy rewards, I also tossed in a few “30 seconds of jumping jacks” and “run in place for 100 steps” to get my blood pumping. I can always add more slips later, but this seems like a good start. I’ll draw from it whenever I need a dose of inspiration.
Lastly, I started creating profiles for each of my main characters. I found a nifty list of details to consider from Poewar.com. I’m not using every detail suggested, but I think many of them are worth considering for your core cast.
Happy prepping. I’m off to decide what my characters’ tattoo choices say about them.
Nanowrimo: Day -4
Short update today since I didn’t have much time for prep work. Instead of obsessing over Nano, I went straight from my day job to the Eastern State Penitentiary in the middle of Philadelphia. It’s an 11-acre prison that was built in 1829 and looks like a castle. Every autumn, it gets transformed into the freakiest haunted house this side of the states. They go balls to the wall and put on an amazing show. I was losing it the whole way through and highly recommend the experience to any horror fan. It is pure nightmare fuel.
Anyway, I did do two useful things today. One, I began filling out a beat sheet and putting some serious thought into the key events that will push my plot along. Two, I found this amazing list of 100+ Nano prep tools pulled together by Kristina Van Hoos. This is a goldmine of resources and I plan to lose many hours of sleep learning its secrets.
Happy prepping, and keep thinking about the heart of your story.
Nanowrimo: Day -5
It’s five days until Nanowrimo kickoff and I was thinking to myself, “50,000 words just isn’t enough. I need more work.”
Just kidding. I was thinking, “Oh god, how can I get my 50k words done and still make time to not get fired, feed myself (and my cat), and not lose what’s left of my mind?” I’m sure many fellow wrimos feel the same. But being optimistic and assuming I can manage those things, I’d like to also keep a daily journal of my Nano progress. Nothing fancy, just snippets of my process, anecdotes from my writing group, and other writerly brainfarts. For example, I thought I’d share a bit about my prep work so far.
I had two ideas flopping around: one involving a teenage witch and an inherited family diner, the other involving a teenage jewel thief in space. I decided to go with SPAAACE. After working on an urban fantasy project for a long time, I’m looking forward to the change of scenery and lack of oxygen.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve brought upon myself with my last Nano project was not having the rules of the fantasy world and core plot line solidly figured out. Instead, I changed things as I went, but there was a ripple effect. One change meant other edits needed to happen earlier in the story, which then required more changes, etc. I’ve allowed that project to languish and I don’t want it to happen with this one. I want to get my shiz tight from the start.
At this point, I have outlined/determined the…
- Working title (Stealing the Stars)
- Genre (sci-fi), age group (young adult), and setting (space and Earth, mostly)
- Identity of my main heroine and her love interest
- Members of her crew and name of their ship
- Main conflict and general sequence of events
The other evening “inspiration” struck and I feverishly wrote out a 5-page synopsis, but it needs a lot of fleshing out. I’m worried I’ll hit a wall, worried because I’m still editing last year’s project, worried that life will get in the way, but mostly, I’m excited.
As I continue prepping, here is the most useful resource I have found today: the master Nano forum thread on character profiles, sheets, and questionnaires.
Happy outlining, and enjoy the next full nights of sleep while they last.