My NaNo Prep This Year

This post may come a bit late for those of you looking for tips on planning your own NaNovel, but I’m only just now sliding into it.

As a (long) bit of background, here’s a quick run-down of how I’ve planned my past novels (and how it worked out):

 Pantser: Came up with characters, beginning plot, and setting a few days before NaNo and RAN with it for the entire month, without trying to censor myself. (NaNo’08, NaNo’09, Camp NaNo’11 August)

The Aftermath: Spectacular wins and terrible plots that I don’t have the energy to completely rewrite.

– Obsessive Planner: Came up with characters, plot, and setting in early October. Planned out by scene, with phase outlines, and stuck to it like it was written in stone. (NaNo’10, NaNo’11)

The Aftermath: Solid plot, but I was sick of the story AND had to continue into December to finish the novel. Haven’t looked at them since.

Literary Pantser: Had a plot, characters, and a basic idea “THEY DO NOT HAVE A HAPPY ENDING,” and forced myself to write a tragic lovestory with crazy, homicidal characters. (Camp NaNo’11 July)

The Aftermath: Hated it with all my being. Wrote 40k, killed everyone, and supplemented with schoolwork I’d done during the month.

 Semi-Planner: Had the beginning plot, a mostly-fleshed-out cast, and a well-fleshed out setting. Had the plan in my head, and didn’t mind deviating from it. (Camp NaNo’12 June and August)

The Aftermath: Loved the story. There is a semi-tight plot, and one of the two is now in editing stage.

So what can I learn from this?

  • Write what I like.
  • Know the characters and parts of plot.
  • Deviate if necessary.
  • Have the time to devote to the novel.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Answering questions about my characters. What is John’s compelling need? Why did Adam take the silver cup?
  • Figuring out important plot points. But not planning them out in detail except in my head. When NaNo comes, I’ll probably just have an outline to the side and refer to it, but I may not write according to scene. I’m not sure yet, actually.
  • Figuring out the setting. On the prep list for this year is maps. My character will be journeying some, but not a lot, and I’d like to have one of these as a reference– but also as drawing practice.
  • Drawing a cover. This is the first year I have a cover during NaNo. I’m so excited.

And, my NaNo Survival Kit:

  • The trusty laptop
  • And the lovely iPod

What are your prep tools for NaNo?


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