If you're like me, you are both excited and nervous for NaNoWriMo! (More excited than nervous, but it's the anxiety that gives me the feeling of being overwhelmed.)
I usually write an average of one or two books a year so NaNoWriMo is always a wonderful boost when I'm either starting a new novel, or trying to finish the one I'm currently working on. Every summer, I tell myself that I'll use the entire month of October to prepare for NaNo, then hit the ground running on November first.
Yeah, that's never happened.
Something ALWAYS comes up in October. Every. Year. This year being no exception. To make an extremely long story short: my husband and I bought a house, moved in, someone tried to break in, we moved out, then decided we'd fortify the place, and are now moving back in. Phew! A hard lesson, but we've learned it and so begins packing up all our stuff for the third time and moving into Fort Knox (aka our new house).
So, if you're having time constraint issues or life is just getting in the way of your NaNoWriMo prep time. Here's three easy things you can do to make sure you're ready for November first!
I don't care if it's in a waiting room, or in-between packing boxes, or on your lunch break at work, writing down any thought or idea you have for your book is a must. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of something that I think will work perfectly for my story and I'll swear up and down that I'll remember it. How could I not? It's such an awesome idea! And yeah. Totally forgot it later.
You can type it in your phone. There are a ton of apps that can organize all your notes. Evernote is what I use. It's priceless. It has a search option which is vital for me since I can never remember where I put anything and that includes my thoughts!
If you're an outliner like me, then puking out as many ideas and notes as possible will help you piece together a solid outline, which will allow you to write like the wind come November first.
2. Rough Outline
This is like your pre-pre-outline. It's a little more sophisticated than simply note taking. When you don't have a lot of time on your hands, outlining can be a difficult task. Depending on how in-depth your plot line is, outlines are vital to staying on target while writing your book.
If I didn't outline, I'd meander. And trust me, my meandering reads like meandering and that can be frustrating for the reader. You don't want your audience to ask the question: "Where is this going?"
So, if you're short on time, start your rough outline the same way you tackled your note taking: whenever and wherever you can. Sift through y0ur notes and circle or highlight the scenes that you feel are an absolute must to making your book great.
Make a new document, and using bullet points, place those scenes in the order you want them to be in the novel. Then put in spacers approximately where you think the natural 'beats' should go leading up to each scene like this:
3. Final Outline
Now you're ready to fill in the rest. Take the time to think through what events you want to happen to lead up to each beat. I find my best ideas come to me while I'm either driving or taking a shower. You can't really jot down anything in either case, but hopefully your memory is good enough for whenever you get to your destination or turn off the water.
Think of the "filling-in process" like you did your notes. Whenever you come up with a great scene that will help move the story to the next beat, fill it in appropriately like this:
Hope this helps! When I don't have a lot of time, I find this process works well for me!
I'm a writer of YA fiction, fiction, comics, television and movies. I try to make all my stories full of jumbly goodness :-)