NaNoWriMo is approaching, whether with dread or excitement.
But either way, National Novel Writing Month is next month, November. In two weeks. And so many are devoting October as a NaNo prep month. People who work on NaNo are classified as either a ‘planner’ or a ‘pantser.’ A pantser is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, spontaneously, and just goes with the flow. For planners, they, well, plan.
In October. (Or before. But it’s October now.)
When planning for NaNo, you can look at a lot of things. Some of the helpful things are lists. They can be lists about topics such as character traits, basic plots, or ways to break writer’s block.
Many claim that every story’s plot can be boiled down to a core, basic plot. Some have defined these basic plots as seven in number, others in nine or fifteen. Whatever the number, looking at these basic plots can help in deciding what one wants to write about for NaNo.
The first two links are pages including respectively seven and nine basic plots. They both list the seven same plots; the page with nine plots includes Mystery and Rebellion against ‘The One’ as the two additional plots. Either way, when looking at these basic plots you can decide which one you’re most interested in, or would most like to write about, or in some other way want to use in your story. You can then build on these basic plots and form them into as complex a story as you would like them to be.
The third link is to Larry Brooks’ Story Structure. As with all other links, you never have to use this one, but it gives a good outline of how stories can go. If can give a good starting point for building an outline, even if the outline does not remain the same, as often happens. Outlines are not set in stone.
Characters help drive a plot along. So, character development may or may not be needed, depending on what you want to write about. Character development can help make a story feel alive, and like the characters in it are these real, breathing characters that you could see casually crossing the street. Unless, of course, the character has a phobia or other reason they cannot/will not cross the street.
Character Questionnaires are helpful resources when trying to figure out how who a character is. Not just their traits, but how do they act? What will they do in different situations? You don’t need to answer all, or any, of the questions, but they can help guide character development and help you get to know your characters even better.
The list of character traits are good for when you want to create a character, add more depth to your character, change who they are, or experiment with who they could be or could have been. Figuring out a character’s habits can also add to their character development and make even more rich. A habit could also be connected to a trait: a character could constantly be tapping their fingers against some surface due to their constant worry and impatience.
Lists are great to scroll through when trying to break writer’s block. (Or just in general. But anyways.) Random generators are also really helpful. They can range from basic to extremely detailed and specific, depending on what you would like to generate. They can also generate plots, plot twists, plot points, characters, settings, maps, and so on. The first link below, Writing Exercises, has many basic generators for topics such as dialogue, plot, scenarios, towns. Seventh Sanctum focuses more on specifics, and can give really detailed ideas about different possible characters, plots, settings, story elements (such as magic). The third link, 27 Wacky Ways, is a list of various actions you can take when combatting writer’s block. These actions are typically ones that draw you away from your writing. And as much as there are 50,000 words (or however many) you’re writing during November, sometimes it’s helpful to just step away for a moment. Who knows, that plot point you’d been thinking about could turn out to be not so complicated after all, and the answer you were looking for is sitting right there in front of you.
Finally, Rainy Mood is not a random generator or a list. It is simply a website that plays the sound of rain. Music and sound can be really helpful in productivity, as well as in writing. If you want, you can use music to set the stage for your writing or help get you into a writing mindset. Some music is added below:
The deadline for submissions to The Hill is October 31st, Halloween.
And The Hill‘s Writing Workshops would like to announce that Jenna O’del has published her first novel! An anthropomorphic high fantasy novel, Hidden Presences is the first in the Hidden Strength series. The back cover reads: “In the middle of the night, Adamar the fox’s kit, Miro, is stolen. When Adamar learns about Miro’s disappearance, he is guided towards the Darvin kingdom, and its king, Girbindon. Adamar and his fellow archers head out on a quest to bring Miro home. On the quest, they must fight the forces of Girbindon, who is determined to keep Miro for his evil plans. Adamar is ready to get Miro back at any cost, but he quickly begins to discover just how far Girbindon’s influence reaches. (Copyright © Jenna O’del 2015)” Jenna’s book can be found here. And her website is here.
NaNoWriMo awaits next month, after the submissions deadline of Halloween. Happy and spooky writing everyone!