Writing Prompt: NaNoWriMo 2011!

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write  a novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. Yes, 50,000 words in 30 days!  It’s a little stressful, a bit crazy, and a whole lot of fun!

Check out the official website for more details.

So what are we doing here at Novel Novice about NaNoWriMo?

We’ll have weekly posts throughout October and November to support and encourage our followers who are doing NaNo this year.  During October, we’ll focus on getting ready for Nano, and once we get to November, we’ll feature books that were written during NaNo.

To Outline or Not?

Writing a novel in 30 days is a large project and some pre-planning will increase your chances of winning.  When I refer to an “outline” here, what I’m really talking about is any pre-planning that you’ll do before you start writing on Nov 1.

Now, not all writers like to outline before writing and that’s okay.  But you’ll probably want to know a little bit about what you’re going to write about before November 1 is upon us.  Think about things like:

  • Genre: What kind of story do you want to write? Romance? Thriller? Mystery?
  • Target Audience: Middle School? Young teens? Older teens? Adult? Gender? Get as specific as you want.
  • Tone/Mood: Are you writing something humorous? Scary? Dark? Romantic? This sometimes goes hand-in-hand with genre, but not necessarily.

Outlining Methods

There are as many methods for outlining as there are writers. This is just a sampling of some of the options. Do whatever what works for you.

  • No Outline at All: Writing By the Seat of Your Pants (“pants-ing”)
    This is actually the method the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty, recommends.  He wrote a book about it: No Plot, No Problem
  • Briefest Outline: Write a one-liner that tells the main character and central conflict.
  • Brief Outline: A short summary of each of the three acts of the novel. As you write, you’ll expand the summary.
  • Brief Outline: “Three badnesses” (term stolen from my friend vampthenewblack because I loved it so much).  Summarize three progressively worse badnesses that will become the three major scenes of your novel.  As you write, you’ll either be setting up for the next badness, writing the badness scene itself, or reacting to the badness that just happened.
  • Extensive Outline: Snowflake Method.  Build a summary of the entire novel layer by layer.
  • Extensive Outline: First Draft in 30 Days. Write a 50-100 page summary of the entire novel.
  • Detailed Outline: The Marshall Plan. Write a summary of every scene of the novel.
Learn More at the Official NaNoWriMo Website
For the comments: Will you be NaNo’ing this year? Have you NaNo’ed in the past? Are you a pantser or an outliner?

3 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: NaNoWriMo 2011!

Add yours

  1. I tried NaNo’ing in 2009 and failed miserably. Mostly because I didn’t have a plan. Ironically, it was probably the one year I had the greatest chance to win, in terms of available time for writing. Wish I knew then what I know now.

    Last year, I had a newborn and wasn’t writing much of anything, let alone 50,000 words in 30 days.

    This year, I keep going back and forth as to whether I will “officially” NaNo or not. I may not decide until November 1 hits me in the face.

    I also don’t know which of two stories I will write. I have a fan fiction story I’ve wanted to write for several months, but I also have an original fiction story I want to write. The fan fiction story is more developed and will be easier to start writing. The original fiction still needs a bunch more planning and researching before I’m comfortable writing. (I’m not a pantser. AT. ALL.) The original fiction will directly impact my goal to be a published author. The fan fiction will indirectly impact my goal in that it will be practicing and improving upon my writing in general.

    *sigh* Decisions, decisions.

  2. I’m a long time Nano’er. I think this will be my sixth year, but I’ve only “won” three times. I love it. It’s pretty much the most fiction writing I get done all year, and I always look forward to it.

    I’m mostly a pantser. I usually have some idea of what they story is gonna do, but not a whole lot. Once I’m about a forth or half way in, I sit down and do a basic outline of the big stuff that’s coming, so I know where I’m going. I never know how my stories will end until I get there, so it’s an exciting process.

    I really love the Snow Flake method for outlining though, I’ve been using it as I revise my Nano novel from last year. It’s really, really helpful.

  3. My second year! Hopefully I’ll actually meet my goal this time.
    I’m so excited fo this year now though! I swear, I see nanowrimo posts everywhere!
    I’m a pantser. And procrastination queen. Certain scenes just come out of nowhere and I’ll have a writing frenzy. Followed by a depressing writer’s block. I outline as I go and add details and dialogue. Chatting with other nanowrimo-ers is always fun too.
    Hopefully I’ll meet a lot more people this year. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: