The NaperWriMo region has delivered quite a few preparatory workshops since its inception in 2005. Here are pictures, presentations and notes from our workshops. Note that you can find event information for upcoming workshops.
Five workshops are planned for 2016: see the events calendar for logistics
- 1-3 pm, Sunday, Oct 2nd, Woodridge Public Library, Kat Stepp - What The Heck is an AGONIST? - One who is engaged in a struggle. Seems easy enough. Until you start strapping prefixes and suffixes to the word and you end up in a mortal fight to the death. You can always develop characters through their actions and relationships with each other. Antagonist vs. Protagonist, age old story. What about developing them with scenery? Paint a picture so vivid with your words that the reader won't just understand, but actually empathize with your characters. Your characters deserve so much more than good vs evil. These are all areas we will go through in the workshop, and with time permitting we will even have some practice time Bring your questions and a pen, hope to see many of you there.
- 1-3 pm, Saturday, Oct 8, Nichols Library (Naperville), Sarah Johnson - “This isn’t your story’s final form.” There’s a lot of advice in the world about how to be a better author, how to create a more compelling story or more relatable characters, and it’s all designed to encourage you to write, but the truth is, none of this advice will actually help you on your first draft. What will help? Pure writing. So all that stuff about being a better writer? Forget it, because the next best-seller isn’t going to spring fully-formed from your brain. It’s going to end up a giant document of full of plot holes, terrible dialogue, forgotten story arcs, and flat characters. And that... is awesome. Why? Because you can’t make your masterpiece without a first draft. This workshop will help authors and authors-to-be prepare for the insane festival of NaNoWriMo by helping them embrace terrible writing and motivating them to finish their first draft as they remember: This isn’t their story’s final form.
- 1-4 pm, Sunday, Oct 9th, Glen Ellyn Public Library, Sam McAdams - Story Wall Party - Do you have a great idea for a novel, but are looking for help on how it should start? Have you created an amazing new world and a long list of interesting characters, but are in desperate need of a plot? Is there a story burning inside you, but you’re not sure how to turn it into a novel? Is your story mostly planned, but there are still a few nagging issues you want resolved before you start writing? If you answered yes to any of these questions or are looking for ideas to help complete your novel planning, come out to the Story Wall Party. During this brainstorming event, participants will present their novel plans/ideas and receive advice on anything they’re struggling with.
Come prepared with note cards or visuals to quickly describe your novel ideas and explain your trouble spots. Then let the brainstorming begin.
- 1-3 pm, Saturday, Oct 15, Nichols Library (Naperville), Melinda Borucki - Who are your characters? - You’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo. Great! You’ve have a general idea of what you want to write about, and perhaps sort of know who your characters are, but how well do you really know them? Does your character have brown hair? No hair at all? Do they prefer coffee or tea? Do they like Pepsi or Coke or no pop at all? Are they an only child? Grew up in the country? Come get to know your characters even better with this character building workshop. Here we’ll do exercises to better understand our characters and get those creative juices flowing. We all need a little warm up before we embark on our novel writing marathon, so please come prepared to flex those creative muscles. We’ll be doing a few writing exercises as well as discuss a few tips and tricks to help keep your stories cohesive as you write.
- 1-3 pm, Saturday, Oct 22, Nichols Library (Naperville), Brian Cable - Strategies for Success in NaNo - November's coming up, and the ideas just aren't coming. You're starting to worry that you'll have to put off writing your novel until next year. Well tell those worries to go hide in a corner because it ain't over yet! Get some last minute tips for planning your novel (or learn how to wing it), get plot and character ideas from the group, and learn some strategies to help you overcome any roadblocks you might encounter during November. And for those who are well prepared in advance, these strategies can also help you adapt to any surprises that spring up as your novel develops and changes from what you've planned.
Four workshops are planned for 2015: see the events calendar for logistics
- NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-03: Story beat points and genres - Are you a planner or pantser? Don’t know! Then join us for an introductory NaNoWriMo session on story beat points, discuss genres and learn how NaNoWriMo can support your writing. Let's have some fun! Join us on our adventure as we discuss the basics and challenges of writing. Anastasia Zoldak / Todd Hogan
- NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-08 - NaNoWriMo In A Nutshell - Tim Yao and Catherine Brennan lead this preparatory workshop. The whys & hows of writing a novel in a month. Bring your laptop or notebook and pen to this highly interactive and entertaining workshop to gain a better understanding of how NaNoWriMo works and how you can succeed in writing your novel this November. There will be (small) prizes and even an example word war! Tim Yao / Catherine Brennan
- NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-10: Visualize Your Novel - Whether you’re a plotter strategizing your battle plan or a pantser curious about investing in a Nanowrimo road map, this session will help you visualize your novel rather than writing blind. Led by Sam Brown, aka “Basil Cliffside,” you will learn how to turn your story idea into 30 bite-sized pieces so you can avoid that deer-in-the-headlights feeling every day you’re faced with an empty page Sam Brown
- NaNoWriMo Preparatory Workshop 2015-10-17: Characterology 101: Heroes, Villains, Lovers, and Amigos - Join us for an introductory session on NaNoWriMo focusing on your Characters. A look at Characters' roles in your stories. The difference between Stereotypes, Archetypes and your own characters. Two Break-out sessions: Explore Character Development and their Motivation / Mindset Use Characters’ Conflicts and Motivations to Create Scenes Dress as your favorite Character. Prizes will be given! - Kathryn Strepp / Todd Hogan
Four workshops are planned for 2014: see the events calendar for logistics
- Preparatory Workshop - Tim Yao and Kaden Patrick - 2014-10-02: The Stone Soup Method for NaNoWriMo Success - will help you explore some of the essential ingredients of any successful novel: plot, narrative, setting, and a good ending.
- Preparatory Workshop - Frank Dahlman - 2014-10-04: Genres - Tropes and Cliches - will focus on genre and the creative process. Frank Dahlman will lead this workshop and talk about key characteristics and common tropes found in the most commonly read genres, discussing what works, and identifying common clichés to avoid. After this brief discussion, participants will brainstorm a possible plot line in the genre of their choosing. This workshop is designed to fill the well of creativity in preparation for NaNoWriMo.
- Preparatory Workshop - Todd Hogan - 2014-10-11: Fiction Improv - Todd will be leading a Fiction Improv, and discussing NaNoWriMo's goal of 50,000 words in 30 days, finding your story, overcoming challenges in telling your story, and miscellaneous ideas to succeed. Participants should bring paper, pen and/or other writing devices and a willingness to explore some personal ideas. There will be time for questions and discussion during the presentation.
- Preparatory Workshop - Jen Moore - 2014-10-18: Surviving NaNoWriMo With Your Sanity (Mostly) Intact - In this preparatory workshop for NaNoWriMo, Jen Moore will talk about ways to prepare yourself for this epic endeavor. You’ll determine your goals, establish your support strategies, and psych yourself up for the challenge ahead. Bring all your last-minute panic - and leave it behind when the session’s over.
Four workshops are planned for 2013
- Preparatory Workshop - Todd Hogan - 2013-09-28: Hit the Ground Writing!
- Preparatory Workshop - Katherine Lato - 2013-10-05: Character is Story
- Preparatory Workshop - Roger Lubeck - 2013-10-12: Writing Styles - Structure, Plot, and Mechanics
- Preparatory Workshop - Frank Dahlman - 2013-10-19: Keeping Your Readers Engaged
- Emotional Response: How to Connect With Your Readers - Tim Yao, 2012-10-06
- Prepare for NaNoWriMo - Tom Ostler, 2012-10-13
- Writer's Self Assessment - Roger Lubeck, 2012-10-20
- Writing Good Dialogue - Crystal Blount, 2011-10-22
- What to Avoid - Heather Jones - 2011-10-15
- Plot Development - Tom Ostler, 2011-10-08
- Strategies for NaNo/writing - Katherine Lato, 2010-10-02
- All about POV's - Crystal Blount, 2010-10-09
- Character Development - J. Turpin, 2010-10-16
- Character Definition and Development - Lloyd and Barb, 2009-10-24
- Plot Prep Session - Dave Dean, 2009-10-10
Our first year doing workshops
- Plot Preparation Workshop; also see notes from 2008-10-18 - Katherine Lato, 2008-10-18
- Novel Preparation Workshop - Tim Yao, 2008-10-26
No workshops this year
- Using emotional response for plot points - Tim Yao - 2007-09-27