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Thread: Preparing for NaNo

  1. #1
    Sailing in a sea of mushroom... Nerdilydone's Avatar
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    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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    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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    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
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    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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    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.
    SIGNATURE OF DEATH!!!

    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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    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 well...my 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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    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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    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.

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