Monday, October 26, 2009

Get the most from NaNoWriMo--Final Preparations

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is only a few days away--time to make a few final preparations so you can get the most from that intense 30 days.

If you've been following this blog for the last few weeks, you've changed the way you think about writing a novel, prepared your cast, developed your comprehensive concept, and built a list of tasks your hero, antagonist, and other major characters must accomplish to achieve their individual objectives in your story.

If you are just now catching up with this blog, then use the next few days to come up to speed in your preparations. 

For those who have done their homework, three tasks remain to help get the most from NaNo.

First, build your book on an index card. Not literally on a card, your BIC is a summary of what your book is about.  Taken from screenwriting (and nobody does story better than screenwriters), this technique summarizes the premise and action of your book.  What does a BIC look like? A BIC has two parts. The first part looks like this:

"When a <causal event> happens, a <type of character> must <do what?> in the the face of opposition from <your antagonist> in order to <achieve what goal?>.

What's a <causal event>?  It's when the Martians Land in "War of the Worlds."  It's the murders in mysteries, the old heart throb showing back up in romances, the bad guys taking over the town n westerns. It's the event that your main character can't ignore and that propels him or her into action.

How about <type of character>? That's your hero or heroine--an "emotionally wounded tough detective, a "kick-butt female SWAT team leader with a lonely heart," or a "gunslinger turned preacher."

And <do what?>--solve the mystery, save the town, escape the Martians, clean up the town, and so on.

<Your antagonist>--the living, breathing, human-emotion having person (or person-like thing) who wants more than anything and who take action to see your hero fail.

<to achieve what goal?>--obtain justice for a wronged person, regain the kingdom, restore peace,  and so on.

The second part of your BIC comes from your list of things your hero/heroine and antagonist(s) each must do to accomplish their goals.  After you make those lists, merge and integrate them into a series of cause-and-effect, action-and-reaction scenes.  For example, you hero does X, and in response your antagonist does Y, leading your hero to do Z. Realizing the threat, your antagonist does... and so on and so on, until the final confrontation, the moment love is declared, the moment the monster is defeated, or whatever happens in the kind of book you're writing.

Your second task is to prepare your writing space and tools.  You'll need to find the physical space and implements you need to write, whether that's a home office or a cubby, a computer or pen and paper.   Prepare those now--you want to be writing during NaNo, not looking for a place to write and kicking your teen off the PC.

Your final bit of preparation
is to look beyond November and NaNo.  At the end of 30 days of intense effort, you'll have a good-size draft that is around 50,000 words long.  Plan a few days or even a couple of weeks of recovery.  Then decide how you will finish your draft and how you will revise it to improve what you've written.  You can use the Real World Revision Process in Novelist's Boot Camp or any other revision system, but DO use a system. 

NaNo is a challenging, exciting thirty days of intense writing effort.  You'll create a better product and have a better time with some methodical preparations like those in this blog.

Happy writing and good luck!

No comments: