Life: NaNoWriMo Prep

Ah, life. Bills need paid, groceries need shopped for, and cakes ‘need’ to be made. The tasks of life seem to pile up so quickly that it can feel like there’s little time for writing. While that may be true for many of us, it doesn’t have to stay our reality. 

I’ve written about it before – find those little moments where you can jot down a few lines or paragraphs. Manage your time so you can carve bits and pieces out of your day. Be persistent and intentional in pursuing your passion, and you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished. And if you need a place to start, I suggest NaNoWriMo 2017.

This year will be my third year in a row and I can’t recommend the organization enough. The support and encouragement to put paper to pen and simply write. Not edit, not proofread, not beat your brains out trying to write the perfect first chapter before moving on to the second, but rather the invitation to bring to life that story idea that’s been wiggling around in your mind so long it feels like a pet. 🐶

NaNoWriMo isn’t about putting life aside to focus on your dreams. It’s about blending your dreams into your everyday so that you can bring your stories to light and start living the life you want – the life of a writer.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? Is it easy or hard for you to find time to write? How do you manage your time?

– Melinda

The What-If: NaNoWriMo Prep

My NaNoWriMo novel idea is all wrong.

That’s the revelation I’ve had in the last twenty-four hours. Twelve days before November 1st, with pages of planning already under way, it struck me that while the story I was plotting was a good story in itself, it’s the wrong story with which to wrap up my series. Hence, all wrong for NaNoWriMo 2017 since my goal is to have a complete series written by November 30th.

The plotter/planner in me is freaking out. The panster in me is excited for the challenge. So with only eleven days until go-time, what do I do? The only thing I can do: grab my favorite drink, find a back seat in my favorite cafe, and create a whole list of ‘what-if’ scenarios.

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The ‘What-If’ writing tool is great for the third book in a series (or really, any book), because in the case of a series you can draw ideas off of the material you already have instead of pulling them out of thin air. Since a writer wants to have threads carry from one book to the next in a series, the ‘What-If’ can assist greatly in this endeavor. To start my ‘What-If’ thread I asked one simple question based off my first book…

“What if my main characters buried a treasure somewhere around town that they thought no one else knew about?”

This one simple question has already lead to five other ‘what-if’ questions, and I know more are soon to follow. New ideas for book three are floating around in my imagination, and my plotting side is starting to feel the excitement of my panster side. 🙂

So while my previous idea for the third novel was all wrong, and November 1st is lurking around the corner, there’s no need to panic. Armed with an effective writing tool, and some really good chai latte in a Hobbit-esque mug, it’s time to let the ideas flow.

What writing tools do you use when you need to start from scratch? How do you handle panic when something in your writing doesn’t seem to go ‘right’? What’s your favorite place to write?

– Melinda

Road Map: NaNoWriMo Prep


Eighteen days until November 1 and the excitement is thick in our home. Or, more accurately, I’m so full of excitement that it’s spilling over into every corner of our one room apartment. 😁 I’m grateful for my supportive husband who is pursuing his own passions – he understands the drive that pushes me to spend hours at the keyboard typing away. 

In preparation for NaNoWriMo 2017, I have laid out the road map that will help me get from beginning to end. While I’m sure each person’s method of mapping looks a little different, numbering chapters and dividing them in to sections is how I best prepare for the twists and turns in my story. 

For example, I know exactly where the starting action, mid-point, and ending are: Chapter One, Thirteen, and Twenty-Six. The doted lines represent other important major plot points, which are 1/4th and 3/4ths through the story. The dashes around Chapters Four, Ten, Sixteen, and Twenty-Three are where minor but equally valuable plot points take place. 

I develop this road map for three reasons:

  1. Helps control the pacing of the story while I write the first draft. This in turns helps make re-writing easier. 
  2. When I know where I need the story to go, I can create scenes that make the journey more enjoyable and not bog down the middle of the trip (as I have been known to do in past attempts at novel writing).
  3. And if along the way I decide to do some unplanned sight-seeing (I am a recovering ‘panster’), I can take the little side trip without worry because I have a map to get me back on track!

So as I continue to plot and plan, I’ll fill in the major plot points/scenes first and then go on to connect the dots with scenes that will build the story and help make it cohesive from beginning to end.

What sort of road map do you lay out before you begin writing? If you don’t plan, how do you determine where you will start and stop?

– Melinda