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7 Days to NaNoWriMo

Sunday begins NaNoWriMo, and I've been preparing for most of October for my novel. Last year, I winged the novel, and made the deadline, but this year, the novel's set in a culture I know very little about, so I've had to do some research leading up to the November 1.

What are some of the things you need to consider as you enter into NaNoWriMo? I can think of five things that helped me start down the novel path. These are all elements connected to the story, and are useful to have in place.

  • Main Cast: Having the primary characters at least fleshed out (gender, race, age, occupation, goal) helps settle down the atmosphere of the story. You might have a goth college cheerleader and an unemployed workaholic, but their goals are going to be different. If one is the protagonist and the other the antagonist, their goals will most likely clash. 
  • POV: Point of View is not necessarily the main character's point of view. One of the best examples is the Sherlock Holmes series in which Sherlock is the main character, but the viewpoint is from Watson. 
  • Voice: How is the story being told? Is it First Person (I told the story)? Second Person (You told the story)? Or Third Person (He told the story)? Are you going to have a limited point of view or an omniscient point of view? 
  • Genre: What is the style of the book - historical, fantasy, literary? You might end up having a couple of genres represented in a novel, but what are the one or two primary genres? 
  • Setting: When and where does the story take place? Are they on a space ship? Out at sea in a lifeboat from the Titanic? Caught in a storm in the prehistoric Alps? Escaping from a wizard execution? 

Having these nuts and bolts in place helps begin to generate the story. You don't always have to have elaborate plans set out for your novel, especially if you're just shooting for the 50,000 word goal. Write your story, leave your characters hanging off a cliff, and come back the following day to repeat. Some days, you'll have a fountain gushing with thoughts and ideas; other days will be hard to write two paragraphs. Stick with it, and keep going.


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