Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Game Plan for NaNoWriMo 2008

I've thought long and hard about what I'd do for my first NaNoWriMo, and I finally developed an idea for my next novel which here I'll call "Project M."

Project M is a children's book in the making. I'm not sure the age range yet, but I'm shooting for either YA (Young Adult/Teens) or MG (Middle Grade: Kids 9-12) Since I primarily write children's fiction, it wasn't a huge stretch, and since the subject matter was a favorite of mine, I couldn't turn away.

Project M has been brewing in my mind all year, but it wasn't until I realized one of my four novels needs to be restructured and re-imagined that I gave Project M more attention. When I realized NaNoWriMo was coming up, I decided to enter it this year and start the first draft of Project M.

In the weeks leading up to the mere days before this years NaNoWriMo, I started Project M by doing something I don't normally do, I started with an outline. In the beginning of my writing life, I didn't outline at all, for the sole reason that I couldn't get my head around outlining. Also, I didn't want to be trapped in outlining and never write the actual book.

Now having written four books, however flawed they may be, I realized that a little pre-planning doesn't hurt. While things will change as they always do from outline to the actual writing, and inevitable rewriting, I might avoid some of the false starts I've done in the past. I also get the know my characters more upfront and hopefully will avoid issues of credibility that I struggle with.

I also wanted to play NaNoWriMo fairly, so I didn't write any chapters beforehand, but since out lining's allowed I thought I'd give it another try. It's been slow, but I plan to finish it up by Friday night.

I also know that I'll need to do some research to get certain details right. I've done a little already to get a feel, but once NaNoWriMo starts this weekend, I'm going to hold off research and finish the draft. When I'm done, I'll go back and figure out what I'll need to research to keep things accurate.

For those who are first-time NaNoWriMo participators like me, it's important to remember some advice I got from Ann Gonzalez, a NaNoWriMo veteran who wrote her upcoming novel, Running for my Life during this event-

"Revision is very important, as are getting good readers and critiquers. But, really, those are worries for Dec. 1. The only thing you should be worried about right now is being able to find solid chunks of time and space to sit down and write, and write, and write. You'll have lots of time after November to evaluate how much work it will take to get the story you most want to tell into submission shape. Remember, Stephanie Bodeen only used 7 pages of her nano novel, but her book, The Compound, is available on bookshelves now. I used considerably more than 7 pages of my nano novel, and revision was fairly rapid. Still, those are worries for Dec. Right now, enjoy first draft writing."

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