I’m sooooo excited!
Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 begins tomorrow. 31 days. 50,000 word goal. 1613 words per day! If you aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month), you can read about it here. And Camp NaNoWriMo, which is sorta the same thing but held in July, can be read about it here. With Camp NaNo, you get a “cabin” of 11 other writers and there’s a forum for trading writing tips and motivational tips. And there’s a place to log your word count everyday (where everyone can see it, so that adds to the motivation since you don’t want to let your camp friends down). And the big idea is to write a novel in one month (or a script, or whatever writing project you’re working on). I heard about it a few years ago, but tomorrow officially starts my first NaNo! 🙂
Here are a few ways that I’ve prepared for Camp NaNaWriMo:
- Research: I’ve been working on my current project for a few years (off and on) and so while I have a ton of research under my belt, there were still a lot of unknowns with one of my supporting characters and the time period. So I’ve spent the last month diving into those two and while I wouldn’t say my research is complete, it feels solid. I may continue with it throughout NaNo, but not in place of writing my 1613 words per day!
- Outlining: I’m a HUGE fan of note cards. I wasn’t always, but since learning a better system it has been a lifesaver for adding depth to my story. I also LOVE the freedom of note cards—being able to move them around, take them out, add them back in, etc. works well for me since I love a lot of detail in my outline, but also enjoy the freedom of being able to go off course and try something new without losing myself completely.
- Storyboarding: I’m a HUGE fan of the “W” storyboard, which I learned about from Mary Carroll Moore. You can read more about it here. It’s a great way to see your plot points and get a vision on the rise and fall of conflict, the emotional beats and subplots that may be troubling you. The first time I used it I was thrilled (and shocked) to find that half of my Act 2 was missing. Ha! I love this tool and also using it in conjunction with my note cards. I will literally move all the furniture and make a giant “W” out of tape on the floor, then place my hundreds of note cards along the lines to see if things are landing right. Just the other day it helped me shape one of my subplots. If you’re a visual person, I can’t recommend this enough. Or even if you just want to try something new!
- Reading: All writers are readers first and I definitely see a difference in my writing when I read a lot! Recently I stepped into a different genre and read Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard. It’s the first of a trilogy and so fun, exciting, of-another-world and relate-able. All fantastic ingredients for a book! And I love the time period that it’s set in—late Victorian. It has many twists and turns and a pleasant and intriguing ending that will make you buy the second book soon after. And the characters are sincere! There’s something very genuine about the author’s writing and the characters. As a writer who’s working on a historical piece, it was inspiring to read something in another genre. All genres are connected through the principles of storytelling and writing, and I’ve found it easier to absorb those elements through a genre that’s different from the one I’m working in. The information just hits in a different way. My next read? The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Oh-la-la. Three pages in and I’m hooked!
- Reading about writing: Besides following many writing blogs and authors, I try to be constantly reading an actual book about writing. I find that there’s more meat to it so that when I read that great blog post about narrative or the heart of the story, I can absorb more since I have a foundation from the books. The one I’m reading now is Stephen King’s On Writing and it very well could be in my top 5 of all time. So simple. So to the point. I will definitely reread it again and again.
- Music: I LOVE to make playlists for my characters and even ones to set the scene in my imagination so I’ve been working on those too. Have you heard of 8tracks? Super awesome website, especially for discovering new music and amazing playlists!
I think that’s all for now! Day 1 is tomorrow. If you are a fellow NaNoWriMo camper, drop a line in the comments! And if you have favorite tips for preparing (for NaNo or any writing sesh), please feel free to share!