Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Pre-Writing

NaNoWriMo Pre-Writing, Plotting, Brainstorming, Daydreaming
(Casting Call Blog Hop Tomorrow)

As a writing teacher at my local homeschool co-operative, and as a writer, I have found myself scrambling to prepare for NaNoWriMo both for my students and for myself. What is the best, most useful and awesome advice I can give them, and use myself?

The reality is, I don’t know. I have ideas. I know what has worked for me before, and what hasn’t, but each writer is an individual with different methods of pre-writing that work best for them. How do I give the best, most useful and awesome advice to a group of people, even a small one?

I know what it’s like to be in a writing class and get all excited about the teacher’s method that “works for most writers” only to find out that maybe I’m not in the category “most writers.” Are any of us, really?

Here’s what has worked for me: daydreaming, drawing maps, writing character profiles, jotting down notes about world building, and the five scene method.

For the five scene method, I jot down notes about the top five most important scenes or scene images for each character that matters . . . not just main characters, but their top buddies, and the antagonist. I have to know each character’s beginning scene, climax scene, end scene, and two scenes that show character development or tension between characters. That doesn’t mean I write out those scenes, but I take notes on what I think they might be, including some description of the setting where they take place. Last year, I used most of my scene ideas during NaNoWriMo, but some were just left in a folder, and ignored as useful but unnecessary background. (This method was one great writing class gem that I learned from Pamela Goodfellow in a University of Washington Commercial Fiction class.)

This year, with the impetus of teaching a group of hungry (for writing), enthusiastic, intelligent, and highly motivated and committed teens, I feel in some ways like that’s not enough. I feel like I need to find more for them . . .more methods, more specific pre-writing plot ultimate “truth” for writing and finishing a novel.

Yet, despite having read more than a dozen books on writing, and some specifically about novel writing and plotting, I don’t feel like I have “the answer”. I just have ideas.

Do you think there is one answer for pre-writing plot that will drive you to the finish of your novel by the end of NaNoWriMo?

Casting Call Blog Hop Tomorrow


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah - don't give up!

Carrie Butler said...

I'm excited for your Casting Call post tomorrow! I just wanted to say I love that you have a World Vision button on your sidebar. It's a cause very close to my heart. :)

M.J. Fifield said...

I like Alex's advice-- don't give up. That's good advice where NaNoWriMo is concerned.

I've never gone into NaNo with anything pre-planned except for the MCs name and the genre of the story. That happens to work for me but I'm sure there are much easier ways.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex and M.J. - The Best Advice! I knew someone had it . . . I just misplaced that somewhere.

Carrie - thanks!!! I love World Vision too!