Sunday, 18 October 2009

How to plan a NaNo novel

Well, more 'How I planned my NaNo'.

Step 1 : The idea
I admit, I cheated, the idea was Race's and she said I could have it. However you do it, this step needs done, can't write without an idea. That idea could be a plot, a character, a scene or anything else that sparks a story.

Step 2 : The method
Now you have an idea you need to decide how you want to write it, will you use BIC (butt in chair), will you use a well structured plan or will you plan vague points and hope the story carries between them? You could even plan the first few scenes and hope it grows legs and walks on it's own from there. I'm going for a fairly structured plan.

Step 3 : The Maths
This was where I sat and worked some things out. For NaNo you are aiming to produce 50,000 words. I worked out that this amounts to roughly 2000 words a day for 25 days. November has more than 25 days but I think aiming for 2000 gives a bit of slack for days off and days where you write very little. It also allows for extra days to check word count and to go over the limit.

Step 4 : The Plan
This is how my plan works, yours will probably look completely different.
Okay, so Eden will be written as a diary so lets do some more maths; 50,000 divided by 500 is 100, that gives me 100 diary entries, perfect that nicely covers just over 3 months if the MC writes 1 a day. Now I know I have 100 sets of 500 words to plan, and 4 a day to write, seems a bit more manageable.
With this knowledge I took some scrap paper and cut it into roughly 100 bits big enough to write a diary entry title and a short description on. On a seperate sheet of paper I wrote the main plot points I want to cover then it was just a case of splitting up those plot points, adding a few in and dividing the whole lot into 100. A bit of fun was had trying to order all the bits of paper then the whole thing was copied into the notebook I'm using for NaNo. Plan done!

Step 5 : Optional extras
I have also created character sheets for each of my main characters and a few sheets of notes of settings. You don't have to do this kind of planning but you may find it useful later on. You might want to tile your piece now or wait till your finished, you might want chapter headings now you might now, it's totally up to you.

Step 6 : Have fun writing
Writing gets done in November and November only! But the main point, at least I think the main point, is not to church out 50,000 and hate every minute of it. The main point is to have fun.

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