Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2021

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Just like last year I’ve started to prepare for this year’s National Novel Writing Month in October. I’ve decided to write a Fantasy Crime Novel based in a version of Northern Ireland, that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Criteria for me to choose this project were that I have a lot of ideas so that I hope I won’t get stuck. Writing 1667 words a day is a lot for me.

As you know I have made it a habit to write almost every day but, at the moment, I most often write around 700 words. I know that I’ll struggle this year to even find the time that I need to get the words out. Still, NaNo last year has been a great experience and I don’t want to miss it. I’m also quite set on achieving the goal of 50k words.

In preparation I’ve plotted with K.M. Weilands 10 points from her writer’s guide “5 Secrets of Story Structure” and I’ve also planned the ten scenes James Scott Bell suggests in his guide “Write Your Novel from the Middle.” For me planning a novel feels a little like creating a recipe for my writing, even though I always surprise myself by adding a few ingredients or changing things around a little. I know myself well enough to understand that planning ahead helps be personally to crates better stories. I tend to get lost if I don’t know where I’m going.

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A also fleshed out the main characters and the antagonist in my mind and a few supporting characters have announced that they want to be a part of the story. The first scene is almost ready in my mind so I hope to get a good start on November 1st.

Apart from planning, there are a few other things I’ve prepared. I have stocked up on my favorite brands of tea, because I always drink numerous cups while writing. Also, I’ve marked a few days in my calendar that I think will be good writing days. And I’ve thought about things I want to do less during NaNo (which is mainly housework…). Also, I probably won’t get to rad as much as I usually do. One thing I want to keep doing is going for walks, which is always a great source of inspiration for me and Yoga, so my back doesn’t start hurting from sitting at my desk so much.

I have connected with other people in my writing board that are taking part in NaNo and exchanged ideas.

I have also prepared a list of things I can do if I get stuck, that I’d like to share with you:

  1. Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and start to imagine the scene. What might happen next?
  2. Talk to a friend about the scene and explain to them why you are stuck.
  3. If I really don’t know how to continue a scene, maybe it’s the right time to end it anyway and switch to another point.
  4. Let another character enter the scene and see what happens.
  5. Draw a tarot card. That might give you some inspiration. (An idea I got from my writing board.)
  6. Randomly write down three words that come to your mind and see if you can do something with them in the scene.
  7. Imagine one of the characters is sitting next to you. What are they talking about? What is on their minds? Can it help you continue?
  8. Think of something bad that could happen to the protagonist and let it happen.
  9. Think of a conflict that could arise and let it happen.
  10. Eat chocolate (okay, mabe don’t do that too often).

Are you planning to take part in NaNo? Is there anything you’ve done in preparation to NaNo? Let me know in the comments.

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