NaNoCoDo #1 Starting Blocks

NaNoWriMo Countdown 2013

Two months to November and NaNoWriMo. So where do you start?

Never heard of NaNoWriMo? Well, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a really simple writing competition. You start writing a novel on 1st November and if you’re written 50,000 words by the end of the month – you win.

No-one reads it, no-one judges it, it’s purely down to word count.

Yes, you could cheat, but what for? There aren’t any prizes, just the happy feeling that you succeeded. If that’s what you want, you’re still welcome to join in – but why not try doing it for real? It’s free!

This blog is the first of a weekly series over September and October 2013. I’ll cover some of the areas you could be thinking about and even plotting on paper. The rules allow you to write character descriptions, plot outlines, anything you like so long as you don’t write any of the actual novel before November.

I’ve been ML (Municipal Liaison = co-ordinator) for Wales for, um, several years. Eight, I think. I’ve written at least 50,000 words every November all those years (some were over 200,000) and I’ve seen an awful lot of writers have a go at NaNo and many of them become winners. And a fair few failures, too. Hopefully this blog will help people prepare for the big month and WIN by the end.

So let’s start at the very beginning. I’ve listed a few questions to get you thinking about your 2013 Novel. Spend a bit of time thinking about each one, write down a few thoughts and see if anything starts to gel.

If you already know what you’re going to write, it’s worth having a go anyhow. You might just come up with a new subplot, or crystalize something about your characters.

What is your genre? If you reply with more than one, arrange them in order of priority. (Is the romance the main plot, or is it a minor romantic subplot?)
What sort of story is it? The 7 basic types are said to be: comedy; overcoming the monster; the quest; rags to riches; rebirth; tragedy; voyage and return. All stories are said to fall into one of these patterns.

What shape does your plot take? Simple one-track narrative or complex web of interlinking plots? Probably somewhere between those two. Can you draw it as a line or set of lines? Does the action go up and down in a few places?

Do you have any idea what will happen in the Beginning, the Middle and the End? No, you don’t need to know in detail, but it helps to have some sort of idea.

Right now, you’ll probably spend more time thinking about it than writing anything. That’s fine.

That’s what I’m doing this week.

NaNoWriMo: http://nanowrimo.org/ <<– Sign up here.

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