There were a number of us last night who were more than 15 minutes early, so our ever-diligent ML Tim gave us notebooks and had us write a one page impromptu short story starting with the line: If it hadn’t happened to me, I would never have believed it. We then shared them aloud and had a good laugh.
(Tim, where did you want us to post those stories? Thanks M)
We started the Pre-Planning session with an icebreaker about our main characters. We had to answer the following questions:
b. Age/physical description
d. Unusual characteristic
e. Describe how they change over the course of the novel and give an example.
f. What’s their secret?
Sharing these answers was really informative and I feel like I got to know people around the table better—hopefully it was useful for the participants.
We then did two “individual” exercises:
1. We had people write a one sentence (or, at least really short) plot summary.
2. We talked briefly about “endings” and I handed out some helpful hints culled from the Holly Lisle website. I really think the difference between people who complete Nanowrimo successfully and those who peter out has a lot to do with “having the end in mind from the beginning.” Anything you can do to pre-plan your ending will be helpful: you’ll have a destination in mind, a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, to shoot for.
After that, we broke into two groups and each person had seven minutes to read out the one sentence description of their novel and then ask questions of the other Wrimos. This was a great opportunity to tap into the brainstorming abilities of six other people and I, for one, got a lot of interesting ideas about my novel.
I hope this session was useful for those of you who attended. Our next session on Oct 20th from 1-3 (downstairs at the Naperville Barnes and Noble) will cover different territory than this pre-planning meeting, so I hope to see some return Wrimos as well as some new faces!