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Thread: Preparing for NaNo

  1. #1
    Sailing in a sea of mushroom... Nerdilydone's Avatar
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    Oct 2015

    Preparing for NaNo

    Now, I'm going to wait until November to do NaNo, and that's a little way off, but what are some of the things I can do to prepare for it? How can I get my mind into shape so I can get the 50k? What are some of the things you guys do?

  2. #2
    Making Einstein cry since 1994 Maggie Maxwell's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    In my head
    I start using the NaNo forums as soon as they reset. Seeing all those people getting excited together, talking about their story, greeting old friends and making new ones, is encouraging to me. Other than that, I just try to know which story I'll be working on and have some kind of outline ready.
    The insane who believe they are sane are crazy. The sane who know they are insane are writers.

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  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Jen Selinsky's Avatar
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    Jul 2017
    I've contemplated doing NaNo myself. It would be easier now that I'm working part-time, but I already have so many irons in the fire...

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    I successfully completed my first NaNo last year. I like to write short stories beforehand to get use to writing and read some books to see what actual published authors write. I'm also a planster and like to plan my novel out in October. I find the other months to be too early as ideas change constantly. If you need any help you can ask me.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW SianaBlackwood's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    My NaNo Prep strategy is to pretend I'm not going to do it until the last possible minute, then make a snap decision that I'm going to take a break from whatever I'm working on to do something fun. The problem with this is that I got kind of obsessed with the thing I started last NaNo and I'm still working on it, so to follow my usual strategy I'd probably have to go back to the thing this project is a distraction from.

    I'm definitely a pantser, so my preparation for NaNo is pretty simple. I make a list of characters I know are going to be in it, write a brief description of them, write down some rough guidelines for the setting, then try to write down what the opening image is without actually starting the story. If I know anything else e.g. I might be setting out to find a different way to develop an older idea, I write that down as well. I don't bother trying to develop plot points or anything like that, because at this stage it would be a list of things that definitely aren't going to happen rather than a useful guide.

    Also, you need a title. It serves several functions for me - an expression of theme, a thing to name folders and story files, and of course a necessary part of signing up for NaNoWriMo.

    This probably sounds either obvious or silly, but you don't really have to do anything special or different for NaNo. It's more like the distilled essence of the things that already work for you. If you usually plan things thoroughly, you won't suddenly be able to write a fantastic pantsed draft, and if you're usually a pantser it's quite likely you'd end up dumping any planning you attempt. So, I'd say the first step is to figure out what works (and what doesn't work) for you already. Then, figure out how to adapt the 'what works' list to working at NaNo speed and also probably figure out how to avoid falling into the dangerous territory of the 'what doesn't work' list.

    It's pretty good at killing any WIP I list here, but I'm doing okay with trying to revive my blog. August's theme: I don't know yet - probably something about getting organised and refining my processes.

  6. #6
    Sailing in a sea of mushroom... Nerdilydone's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    Cool. Though I don't really do titles first. Most of the time, they're just a thing I add somewhere in process. On occasion they matter, but last short story is titled. "Fantasea."

    Das not good.

    But outlining seems like a great idea.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin amyall's Avatar
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    Oct 2014
    I'm not a great source, never having completed NaNo, but one of the first things I do when I'm preparing for a story is to collect as many pieces of inspiration as possible. I make a folder and just fill it with anything and everything I can find from Deviant Art or Pinterest, even pieces of music that pique my interest.

    Best of luck to you!
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW CoffeeBeans's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    I'm a nano-planner myself (and a ML, and a serious nano-veteran).

    Participating isn't a question for me, so I usually get into gear mid-September. I try to be realistic with my expectations, meaning looking at my work schedule and figure out how much my co-ML and I will be running events together vs apart (she lives about an hour away. We live on exactly the top and bottom of our region) and anything else that might be consuming my time during November.

    When I'm busy, I need more notes, a firmer outline, all that stuff. That way, when I have time to write, I can get words on paper instead of thinking about potential words on paper.

    I snowflake everything out to a scene list with most of my attention on execution - literally what are they doing and why. My goal is to have a decently complete outline by Nov 1, but since my region does plotting meetups once a week for October, I am better off having my outline before the last week, so I can focus on organising the kick off party, handout packets, and all the like.

    If you plot, start now! If you don't, you can still gather inspiration. Keep an eye on your region, and even if they aren't planning any pre-nano events, you can still suggest some informal gatherings either in-person or online.

    TL;DR - It's never too early to start planning a nano.

  9. #9
    figuring it all out airandarkness's Avatar
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    May 2017
    Usually sometime in September I start hanging around the forums more and participating there just to get excited and see what others are talking about. I probably don't do any real "preparation" until October, when I kind of nail down what project I want to work on, put in my novel title and summary, design a cover (or request one in the Artisans forum). Of course, you don't need any of that to participate (well, you do need a title, even if it's just "Untitled"). But I like to have it all because it motivates me. I typically will do a little bit of planning, but I don't outline or anything like that. I just like to know the first few scenes I'm going to write and have a general idea for the overall story structure. The novel I'm planning to do this year is what I've been wanting to write for years, so I have a pretty good idea about the plot and such.

  10. #10
    Polydactyl Landshrimp underpope's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    I'm an ML too! Woo hoo! *high-fives CoffeeBeans* And a long-time veteran, having done NaNo every year since 2001 (except 2002, when I was traveling too much for work).

    The amount of planning I do for NaNo depends entirely on the mood I'm in at about this time of year. In '05 I sat down at midnight on November 1 and started writing whatever popped into my head, and wrote a pretty decent novel if I do say so myself; last year I decided to tackle one of those big novels that I've been wanting to do for a long time, so about this time of year I began to plot (using the Snowflake Method and Scrivener). This year I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do... I have several novels I want to write, and I need to figure out which of them I want to work on this year. Then depending on which project I decide to work on, I'll begin compiling images, listening to music, and so on. I may set up a Pinterest board this year, in fact. I'm not entirely sure.

    :shrug: I hope something here is useful to you.
    Richard S. Crawford: Code monkey by day, word monkey by night
    Ask me about my opposable thumb!

  11. #11
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Ohh, I'm excited to find this post. I just decided to participate in NaNo this year. I have an idea for a new project, outside my typical comfort zone and I think I want to plot it out, too, which I've always avoided.

    I've not been to the official forums yet, but is that where I should look for any groups? I'd like to get involved in a "support group" for the month, something active and inspiring. Any ideas?

    I've never plotted or been involved in Nano, so I've been Googling, looking for ideas. Found this page[Template] Story Beats and am thinking of using it. Saw there was one for the Snowflake method, too, but that one seems a little more intimidating, somehow.

    Thanks for sharing all the tips here!


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