I’m not going to take time to write one of those ‘Night Before Christmas’ parodies — no, I’m way too busy today wondering if I’m really ready to start writing that novel tonight. Do I know my character well enough? Do I have adequate plot points to inspire me throughout the month?
The answer to both those questions, for me, is no. I could use another month to get ready — but time’s up. NaNoWriMo starts tonight at midnight and so at that point I’ll be sitting at my computer writing the first tentative words of my main character’s story. I have the rest of today to work on last-minute readiness issues. With that happy thought in mind I’ll produce a list of things to do, the day before NaNo.
1) Location. Write a description of the location(s) of the novel. My novel will take place in a forest for the most part. A visit to a botany or wildlife website could help put more words together for descriptions of things my main character may be dealing with during the course of the novel.
2) Character development. Can there ever be too much character development? What is your character’s goal in life? What things / issues / people prevent him from reaching that goal? And if your character doesn’t reach that goal, what will be the consequence? What are your character’s greatest assets and flaws? What does he dream about? What is he afraid of? Does he have a secret? What is it? Finally, make a list of ten things your character hates, and ten he loves. Have a detailed description of each character’s appearance.
3) Theme. Can you write in one sentence exactly what your novel is about?
4) Plot. Do you have any idea what will happen during the course of your novel? I’ll be honest — as of right now I know where my novel starts and where it ends, and have only a few sketchy ideas about places my main character will be during her journey through the pages of my manuscript. Today I’ll sit down and build a road map — because how can she get there if I don’t know where she’s going? I will create a series of scenes for each chapter. I acknowledge that the novel is very likely to take on a life of its own — and give it permission to do so — in fact, I hope it will, and soon! But for those nights when I need to beat out 2500-5000 words and my imagination is drained and I have no idea what to write about — well… those plot points are going to come in mighty handy!
A lot of people in the world aren’t aware of NaNoWriMo and don’t realize the significance of the last day of October. They call this day “Halloween.” I guess I’m one of the lucky ones — I live far enough from town that no kids will show up at my door. I have no need or desire to dress up, participate, or party.
The path is clear. NaNoWriMo is finally here!