I’ve just signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time EVER. Here’s proof:
As a hardcore plotter, I’ve never felt ready to participate. I can’t even fathom writing 50,000 words of prose without a solid outline. Plus, I’m not a fast writer. My inner editor and I are a team, not enemies, and I like it that way. She (my inner editor) gives damn good advice and prevents my story from going off the rails. I appreciate that.
I know, I’ve just confessed to doing the two big no-no’s of NaNo: 1) write slowly, and 2) listen to your inner editor. I bet you’re thinking I will totally fail this challenge!
Not so fast. I have a plan. I said so in the title. Let me tell you what it is and then you can determine if I stand a chance…
Since I’m a plotter, I’ve already written multiple beat sheets and step outlines and character sketches, and have revised these documents extensively so that the story now resembles something that doesn’t completely suck. To most people, I seem ready to write this novel and write it fast! But as soon as I say the words “write novel,” my inner editor shows up, red pen in hand, eager to get to work. Common advice is to ignore her, but I can’t. I really can’t! Any of you have this problem? I suspect you might.
So the first step in my scheme to win NaNoWriMo is this:
#1 – Do not classify NaNo project as a “novel”; call it an “extremely detailed outline.”
My plan is to go scene-by-scene paraphrasing everything that happens in the story, including set up and action and transitions and filler dialogue. When this detailed outline is done, it’ll be about 100 pages long. It’s like writing a novel in shorthand. I suspect that my detailed outline resembles many writers’ rough first drafts in detail and scope. Maybe they’re exactly the same! But the plotter in me needs to call this process an “outline” so my inner editor doesn’t freak the eff out and try to improve all the words. I know, it’s just semantics, but it works for me.
However, this detailed outline might not quite be 50,000 words when I’m finished. It’ll probably be 40,000 or a less. So where am I going to make up that other 10,000?
We’ve arrived at the second step in my plan:
#2 – Slow down and write a few scenes.
Writing fast burns me out. I know this from experience. Plus, no doubt there will be days when I just can’t think of what happens next. I’ll get stuck on something, a minor plot point probably, and I’ll need to take a break. But breaks aren’t efficient! NaNo is a race! Keep writing. So I will. I’ll take one of those scenes I’ve paraphrased in my detailed outline and write it out in pretty prose with all the proper pacing and dialogue and grammar. My inner editor will help me. We’ll probably spend eight hours honing just 1000 words, but that’s okay, that’s how we write, and when it’s done we’ll be super proud of those words and happy to have that scene in a readable format.
That’s it. Just two steps. Perhaps it’s not the way people think you are supposed to do NaNoWriMo, but who cares because *cue music* I’m gonna do it myyyy way!!!
Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, how do you plan to win? Share in the comments. Oh, and my username is HeatherJacksonWrites if you want to add me as a NaNo buddy. 🙂