In the lead up to NaNoWriMo 2010 there has been a lot of chatter amongst writers about what it takes to actually write a novel in 30 days. As most of you will know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an event that takes place each November and urges writers to reach the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel over the course of the month. Those who manage to reach that goal are then able to enter their finished work get some cool acclaim within the writing community and of course, the bragging rights of having written a novel in 30 days! The event is something that amateur writers and accomplished authors alike are able to participate in.
Image by nataliesap via Flickr
I signed up to participate for the first time during last year's competition (2009) but it quickly became clear to me that it takes more than just signing up, having an idea, and sitting down to write. The month ended and I think my word count was around a paltry 10,000 words. Admittedly, I didn't start writing until after the first week was over but it wasn't time that was the major problem. Over the course of the last year I've spent a lot of time writing (though, God knows nowhere near as much as I'd have liked to) and though not all of my writing has been fiction one thing has become clear.
Planning is a majorly important facet of writing a good, cohesive story. This brings me back to the chatter I mentioned that's happening within the writing community right now. Everyone is talking about whether it's necessary to plan your story and how much planning is really important. Having failed dramatically last year, I know that if I want to succeed for NaNoWriMo this year I need to have my story planning done before November 1st.
So over the last few weeks and for the rest of October, I will be spending some time each day working on the story plan – from developing character profiles, to creating an outline for the story itself, and doing research on the topics and settings that I may or may not end up using in the story. I may discover on Nov. 30th that all that I've done in preparation is major overkill, but this year I'd rather be over prepared then not prepared at all.
I'm determined, you see, to hit 50,000 words. Hopefully they won't end up being 50,000 spectacularly horrible words but at the very least, 50,000 adequate words. If nothing else, at the end of November I hope to have a first draft for that new story I mentioned a couple months ago… Yes, I've been hoarding the idea for a while now. And as a bonus, since nearly all my time during November will be spent writing (when not off doing the Mom thing), I'll be using some of my prep/planning work to keep the blog rolling. See there's me, planning ahead again!!