Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gearing Up for November in July

Just to give you all a heads up...

The National Novel Writing Month challenge starts in a little over 90 days so if you're interested in giving it a try, now might be a good time to start noodling around some ideas of what you want to write.

My method of being ready to rock on Nov. 1st is crude, but effective:
  1. Go to the site (linked above) and sign up. It's free and there are no obligations of any sort -- even to participate in November.
  2. Come up with an idea or two or three. Pick the one that interests/excites you the most.
  3. Describe that idea in a sentence or two.
  4. Expand those sentences into short paragraphs.
  5. Expand those paragraphs into a two or three page synopsis. This is all "what might happen" kind of stuff.
  6. Start breaking down the synopsis and converting it into an outline organized by chapters. You can be fairly arbitrary at this point. Write "Chapter One" and group all the info in your synopsis that you think might go in your first chapter. You don't have to be rigid, it'll change as you start writing. Do this for "Chapter Two" and so on until the end. My outlines tend to be anywhere from 25 to 40+ chapters and five to ten pages long.
  7. As Nov. 1st approaches continue to go through your outline as often as you can, adding whatever you can think of in terms of story, setting, and character. Divide chapters that you suspect are too large, add new ones. Jot down character revealing snippets of possible dialogue, etc.
If you do this, I can guarantee that you'll be well-placed and eager to start writing when the bell sounds on the big day. Just to be clear, you are not writing your novel yet as that would be against the rules, you're getting ready to write.

Think about it. Yes, it's challenging but it's also very satisfying and well worth any effort you'll put into it.
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