Yesterday’s prep session, our first for 2010, was informative and fun. We had 29 people in attendance at the Nichols Library in Naperville (many of them were first-timers in NaNo). Katherine gave a great presentation.
Here are some of the points I picked up from the session
Strategies for NaNo/writing
- Use the temptation as a reward.
- Focus on word count (don’t worry about what you’re writing)
- In writing, don’t be efficient (sometimes your best ideas come from exploration).
- Does your idea excite you?
- Try Freewriting.
- NaNoWriMo Forum: adoption society – plots, titles, characters, …
- Don’t get stuck on working titles
- Sum up your story in one sentence: the Character in the midst of change.
- You need conflict.
- Steve Miller (DuckOn): Characters have a life before they appear in your story; make sure they are doing something active. What makes them the way they are? (backstory)
- Good October exercise: write a short story about some of your novel characters for a time before your novel begins.
- Come up with pictures of your characters and settings.
- Setting: write what interests you (not necessarily what you know).
- Avoid talking head dialogues–add action to the scene.
- Don’t show everything; it’s ok to tell sometimes.
- Take a walk: let the characters bubble/percolate within (let them look at the world a bit)
- Scenes have a purpose
- Picture collages (characters, settings)
- Voice journal (let your POV characters rant)
- Timeline (can be helpful to note dates/times when writing chapters)
- Plot web (use Freemind or XMind for mind mapping)
- Music soundtracks (create a playlist)
- List (unusual) items that are in settings
- Come up with character quirks
After November: keep writing daily
Here are some pictures from the first prep session
(note: also took some pictures of the entries in the NPL Fall Program Guide; click on a thumbnail to see the full image)